Sponsored By
Nebraska Farmer Logo

Drones to get off ground at Husker Harvest DaysDrones to get off ground at Husker Harvest Days

Demonstrations at the show will allow manufacturers and marketers a chance to discuss UAV applications.

Curt Arens

July 30, 2019

2 Min Read
drone demonstation at HHD
FROM THE AIR: Demonstrations not only exhibit the different types of UAVs available for agriculture applications, but they also display the unique capabilities drones provide. Curt Arens

The drones are coming. Actually, they are already here. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are being used for new applications across the agriculture sector.

Like so many technologies that have originated with the military, UAVs have become tools of the trade for farmers and ranchers, no matter if the devices are quadcopters, hexacopters or fixed wing.

UAV demonstrations began at Husker Harvest Days in 2015 in the southeast quadrant of the show grounds, just across South Shuttle Road from Syngenta Square and the antique farming exhibits. Again this year, UAV demonstrations will return, allowing manufacturers and marketers a chance to demonstrate and discuss their systems and unique applications and services for producers.

“Farmers are still learning different applications for UAVs,” says Greg Austin, chief consultant at FullField Ag and coordinator of the HHD UAV demonstrations. As a certified pilot, Austin knows all about the rules and regulations governing UAV use in agriculture.

“If you’re an existing private pilot, you can get a remote pilot in-command certification on the Federal Aviation Administration website in about 20 minutes,” Austin says. “I’m hoping several UAV systems can be demonstrated at this year’s show. We invite vendors to bring their UAVs to demonstrate some of the applications and services they can offer.”

The application opportunities are enormous. “Drones allow producers to get a close look in their fields in season to see if their irrigation patterns are uniform,” Austin says. “If there is a wind or hailstorm, UAVs can actually be flown to within a foot off the ground to see if the corn is actually snapped off from green snap or just bent over. It can allow a producer a close look at the crops in the middle of the growing season without driving down any of the crops.”

While the interest in UAVs has been high over the past few years, growers are still learning about the technology. “The cost has come way down,” Austin adds. No matter what is going on out in the field with the crop, UAVs offer a bird’s-eye view, allowing producers to adjust their management based on what is viewed from the UAV.

Producers who want to gain more knowledge of UAV systems and learn about the differences in UAVs and the applications they have for their own farms can stop in at the UAV demonstration site at HHD. Demos will be held throughout each day of the show, weather permitting.

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like