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UAS: Aerial Craft On Our Farm

UAS: Aerial Craft On Our Farm
Utilizing a UAS on our farm: what will the future hold?

I won't say that a UAS hasn't been begged for!

I took my 11-year-old son, Cole, along for an unmanned aerial systems class a couple of Saturdays ago.  We drove to Bloomington, Ill., to join about 25 other people to learn about Unmanned Aerial Systems from Chad Colby. It's a good thing Colby doesn't sell these and they are not available at this class – otherwise the boy and I would have a lot of explaining to do!

I am completely enthralled with the photography.  Flat out at this point I will admit that is the number one draw for me.  I love the different angles that you are able to capture and the stunning view.  The quality of pictures is amazing.

Learning to Fly: Cole Campbell learns to fly an Unmanned Aerial System from Chad Colby of during class.

There is no doubt that I also see the immense possibilities for use as a tool on the farm.  There's a lot of information to be gathered from studying the images – especially through comparison. A few examples I think of are photos of the same field every day for a week, or pictures of continuous corn over several years taken at the same point in maturity.

The ability to map tile lines is a huge advantage, too. I am continually pointing this out to Chris, my husband.  At least once a year he comes in and 'drones' on and on about how today would be a perfect day to have someone fly over the fields and capture pictures as all the tile lines are clearly visible.

The downside for us is the cost. From a photography standpoint, the one I would choose would be an initial investment of about $3,000. While I would jump in with both feet, Chris has more of a "wait-and- see if this technology is going to take off" attitude!

But in all reality I am not sure on this farm how fast it would pay for itself.  I have never been one to be on the cutting edge of technology; I just traded in my flip phone last year for a smart phone.  So for now this farm is in a 'holding pattern', although this co-pilot is still begging!

Editor's note: This is the final installment in a series of stories on UAS this week. Catch up using the links below:
What to Call Aerial Technology is an Issue
UAS: A New Tool for Ag
UAS: Big Benefits for Farming Operations
UAS: Know the Laws for Aerial Devices on Farms
UAS: Options and Costs of New Farm Technology

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