Farmers In Yuma County Use Drones To Gather Crop Information

By Maya Springhawk Robnett
Published: Monday, December 12, 2016 - 10:05am
Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 11:16am

(Photo courtesy of Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture)
Drone over Yuma fields.

International accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers recently projected a $32 billion market for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle use in the agriculture industry.

In Yuma County, farmers have already begun utilizing UAV or “drone” technology in the fields.

Drones can help project yields and, with the use of sensors, can detect diseases in plants early on.

Drones could also be used to pollinate date palms. A job, which in the past, has had to be done manually.

Last year in Yuma County, drones were used to determine how many plants in a field had survived a hard rain storm.

Paul Brierley with the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture said the value of UAV technology is its ability to gather real-time information quickly and accurately.

“Do you have dry spots that need more water, do you have plants that are stressing because they don’t have enough fertilizer or there’s a disease happening? And being able to respond quickly and appropriately," Brierley said, "it’s really about productivity and maximizing the yield.”

Brierley said drone use is part of a recent revolution geared toward precision in agriculture and that the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture plans to expand its drone program in the near future.

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