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Six Ways Drones Are Revolutionizing Agriculture

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By 2050, there will be 9.6 billion people in the planet. Feeding the whole worldwide population will be a central challenge for the next generations. Farmers will have to think of ways to reduce the inputs, for example water and pesticides, while maintaining the outputs. Drones can be of great help to farmers in reducing the inputs while trying to provide the same production, or even increase it.

Credits: MIT Technology Review

This article presents six ways in which drones can be central in agricultural productivity and sustainability. 

1. Soil and field analysis: Drones produce precise 3-D maps for early soil analysis for farmers to decide whre to plant. After planting, soil analysis provides data for irrigation and nitrogen-level management.

2. Planting: Drone-planting systems can shoot pods with seeds and plant nutrients into the soil.

3. Crop spraying: Drones can scan the ground and spray the correct amount of liquid for the plants to grow.

4. Crop monitoring: Drones provide time-series animations which show the precise development of a crop and reveal production inefficiencies.

5. Irrigation: Drones with thermal sensors can identify which parts of a field are dry or need improvements. Drones also allow the calculation of the vegetation index, which presents the relative density and health of the crop.

6. Health assessment: Drones use infrared light to identify the crops' green light amounts which help farmers to assess their plant's health. This health assessment can also help farmers in documenting losses more efficiently for insurance claims.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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