Unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, are predicted to be a multi-billion dollar market within the next 20 years, and much of the industry’s growth lies in agriculture.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Vice President for Public Policy and Media Affairs John Collison told News9.com farmers and ranchers in the state are using the technology that could become a necessary tool for the field.
"The technology is pretty new to our members but as we go and technology gets stronger I see a huge market for it in the future," he said.
The technology not only allows producers to check on their cattle, which is extremely important in a time when cattle theft in the state is at an all-time high, but drones can also be used to ensure producers are farming as efficiently as possible.
Further south, drones are being used to efficiently use water.
Dr. Charlie Rush, Texas A&M AgriLife plant pathologist, is using the unmanned helicopter to track disease progression across wheat fields. The results of his study could assist producers in making better irrigation decisions.
Rush is using the drone to take aerial photos and track disease development.
“Now the application and use of this helicopter drone is one more way of measuring the disease development,” he said. “The beautiful thing about this is instead of having to deal with handheld devices, you can come in and fly the entire field in a matter of five minutes and get a very, very high resolution. So we are excited about the possibilities this may provide for our project.”
The drones replace satellite images, providing higher resolution images and unlimited access leading to better analysis.