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.
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