Farm services company, Ruralco, has teamed up with a US-based drone and data analytics provider PrecisionHawk to help farmers improve a host of crop and pasture management activities.
Drone technology extends beyond a typical farmer’s physical crop scouting abilities said Ruralco managing director, Travis Dillon.
“Drones can estimate yields, optimise input use and improve variable rate applications through soil moisture and nutrient mapping,” he told this week’s National Farmers Federation Congress in Canberra.
The flying eyes would also help reduce farmer reaction time to in-crop threats ranging from weeds to diseases and rodents.
PrecisionHawk has worked with the US Federal Aviation Administration to pioneer flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones beyond the operator’s line of sight.
The company is keen to share that experience here.
Ruralco’s rural supplies general manager, Greg O’Neil, said the company this week received its first order for a $10,000 DJI Matrice 100 drone capable of covering 80 hectares in a single flight.
Software and support from PrecisionHawk are included in the offering.
Mr Dillon said the US company’s joint venture with Ruralco reflected the farm services network’s commitment to innovation.
Ruralco was determined to provide state-of-the-art and advanced technology to meet growing demand for holistic approaches to smarter farming.
It would offer drone and data packages through all its retail locations including PrecisionHawk’s data management and analytics platform, DataMapper.
“PrecisionHawk’s success stems from its ability to deliver market-leading data and analytics which provide deeper insights into the productivity of a farm,” Mr Dillon said.
“Ag technology is a game changer for farmers. “There is a new generation entering the industry who see opportunity in innovation – and are thinking outside the box to deliver better efficiencies.”
PrecisionHawk would enable Ruralco customers to discover better, faster information about their farms using safe, drone technology.
PrecisionHawk’s Australian managing director Nathaniel Hyde, told the congress the advanced drone technology it was introducing to Australian farmers was already widely adopted in the US, Latin America and Europe.
“We have seen time and time again how, when coupled with the right remote sensing technology and data analytics, drones are increasing the efficiency and return on investment for farmers,” he said.
“I am looking forward to working with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ensure that drones are used with safety an utmost priority.
The company was also opening an office in Sydney to support Ruralco retail locations and new PrecisionHawk clients to effectively adopt of the technology and use aerial data.
The story Ruralco branches go high-tech with drone technology first appeared on Farm Online.