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UAS: Options and Costs of New Farm Technology

UAS: Options and Costs of New Farm Technology
If you're thinking of looking at your crops from above, options exist.

Finding the right unmanned aerial system for you and your farm is definitely a key to utilizing this new technology tool properly.

"There are many systems available, depending on your needs and budget," says Peter Schott, Kulm, N.D. "The model I purchased and use is the DJI Phantom.  This is a great starter system with powerful features for beginners and experts alike."

This system can cost around $1,000, which includes the ship itself, a mounted camera, case and batteries.  Schott purchased his unit from Aerial Media Pros. Keep in mind customer support and service from whomever you choose to purchase your equipment.

Choose your entry level: There are several different levels when choosing to adopt this new technology. Like any new piece of equipment you buy, look around, weigh your options and make the choice that fits your farm best. (Photo courtesy of Chad Colby)

Brian Scott, Monticello, Ind., opted to go the next step up.  "After I attended a class in Illinois put on by Chad Colby I ordered my kit the next day," says Scott.  "I decided to get the Phantom 2 based on Chad Colby's recommendation to the group.  It's very easy to fly for a beginner like me. Mine has an upgraded radio which probably at least doubles the range of my ship over stock.  So far I've been out six-tenths of a mile, which could cover a lot of acres."

While this system is a bit steeper in price, it holds several advantages over the lower cost one.  The camera is mounted on a gimbal system that allows it to remain independent and unaffected by the movement of the ship.  This provides for better images and video.

This system also includes an upgraded radio controller for achieving farther range and more control.  This system is described as "a favorite for the ag community."  This more upgraded system will run you right at $3,000 by the time you add the GoPro3 camera.

Now if you are really ready to take flight with this new technology, maybe the AgEagle is your ideal choice.

According to the manufacturer, the AgEagle precision agriculture photography system is designed specifically to provide "eyes in the sky" for ag producers.

The early adopter price of this system is just under $12,000. While steep, the potential of this system is amazing.

There are other options out there, but the key is to research and find the system that best suits your needs.

Editor's note: This is the fourth 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

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