Agriculture drones are often interchangeably called unmanned aerial vehicles that are designed to help farmers and agriculturists double their crop yield. Since farmers can’t be on the field 24/7, these drones in agriculture help farmers remotely manage and control crop production.
Additionally, a drone for agriculture use is gaining immense popularity due to how precisely they can collect crop and field data and help farmers stay ahead of any farming challenges.
Following let’s cover in detail what these agriculture drones are, what they do, drones advantages, and how government schemes are encouraging farmers to purchase agriculture drone in India.
Check out – Top 10 Tractor companies in India
What are Agriculture Drones? — Let’s Define Them!
Agriculture drones are often unmanned aerial vehicles used to monitor and manage the growth of crops, land area, and overall agricultural aspects. Moreover, these drones have special cameras, advanced sensors, and automated data-capturing capabilities that can help farmers record any data related to crop growth, weather conditions, and more.
Hence, today’s modern drones can help with precision agriculture, weed control, spraying of optimum fertilizers, and improving crop yield. These drones for agriculture in India help with the following:
- Reducing operational costs.
- Improving crop quality.
- Increasing yield.
Looking for best-farming tractors? Check out this list of tractors from brands.
How are Drones Used in Agriculture?
Here are a few common applications for agricultural drones in India which are widely used:
- To timely map and count the number of plants and trees.
- To overview the plant’s health at timely intervals.
- And, to schedule the required timeline for sowing and managing harvesting activities.
1. Soil and Field Analysis
Drones in agriculture are highly suitable for analysing crop areas or fields. They are embedded with sensors that can actually help farmers identify:
- Moisture content in the soil.
- Terrain or hilly areas conditions.
- Soil conditions or, most particularly, soil erosion.
- Amount of nutrients or fertility in the soil.
2. Crop Monitoring
Drones can help review the field right from the time of sowing till the harvesting season. By adding this drone technology to agriculture, farmers can:
- Evaluate the right time to apply fertilizers.
- Check for any pest eating or attacking the crops.
- Monitor the effects of weather conditions.
This will also allow farmers to have a timely harvest, which is most helpful when dealing with seasonal or intercrops.
Drones have infrared cameras and sensors that help gather real-time data and act on it for the next farming season. Further, farmers can use it to identify gaps and work towards new and improved methods to improve the farming yield.
3. Livestock Management
Livestock management can be a real struggle! It can be beyond human capacity to keep a tab on each cattle and grazing animal, as farmers tend to have them in abundance. This is why drones in agriculture are used to manage and monitor livestock.
These drones have high-resolution infrared cameras that can detect any animal to know its current activity, whether they are in good health or not. Further, farmers can get notified to know or take any action. The use of drones for precision dairy farming is slowly becoming the new alternative.
4. Spraying Fertilisers
Drones can be used to spray fertilisers, herbicides and weedicides over the crop fields. Drones can help meet a new era of precision agriculture. This massive technology can help farmers improve their soil, land, and crop quality.
5. Check Crops Health
Checking crop health at regular intervals is much needed to avoid rotting or disruption in the crop. Drones can help survey the fields and crop areas through infrared mapping. Farmers can get easy updates on how their crops are growing and transforming.
6. Prevents Overuse of Chemicals
like pesticides or herbicides can be detrimental to crops. Sprayed in surplus can temper the soil’s fertility and crop quality. An agriculture drone can help farmers detect pest attacks and calculate the ideal amount of pesticides accordingly.
Check Out: Types of Pesticides Used in Agriculture
7. Prepares for Weather Glitches
Uncalled weather conditions are still a challenge for Indian agriculture! Farmers need to stay ahead to prevent their crops from failing. This is why drones help detect any weather abnormalities beforehand to stay prepared.
Farmers can easily stay prepared for the shift in climatic conditions and plan ways to solve or at least minimise risk. They can easily stay informed on any upcoming storm or lack/of access to rain with ease.
Drones can help plant trees and crops. This revolutionary technology can help farmers increase their productivity and overall efficiency.
9. Monitors Growth
Farmers can efficiently monitor the progress rate of crops. Farmers can easily ascertain how the crop is growing or what factors deter its crop. They can even analyse the soil quality and fertility rate to take action in case of gaps.
10. Helps with Geofencing
Farming fields are prone to animals entering and destroying the field, especially at night. Today’s drones come with thermal cameras that helps detects any animal activity in the fields. Farmers can have great visualisations of any external factors that can damage or interfere with crop production.
11. Monitoring Irrigation System
Most high-tech agricultural drones are manufactured with hyperspectral, thermal, or multispectral sensors that help recognise the areas which are too dry or need some help.
Drones can systematically help improve water efficiency and help even realize any leaks in the irrigation system.
These drones can help have irrigation monitoring yields calculations that help realize the health of crops and any energy/heat they emit.
What are the Benefits of Using Drones in Agriculture?
Upon realizing how much potential agriculture drones contain today, the Government is easing up the restrictions to allow the flying and management of drones. More and more startups and small-scale organizations are getting encouraged to fly these unm\anned aerial vehicles as they serve in the following ways:
1. Increase in farm production & yield
Drones is the ultimate tool to help farmers improve their production and productivity. With the help of these drones, farmers can put up great planning regarding
- Improved irrigation methods
- Accurate monitoring of crop’s health
- More knowledge and improved actions to increase soil’s health
- Identification of new and improved methods to adapt to environmental changes.
2. Allocation of the right resources timely
Since these drones help farmers get accurate and real-time data about their crops and fields, it gets easy for farmers to put up the right resources on time. Supposedly, if they have correct data about the farm animals, they would know what kind of fencing or solution to implement to prevent them from tempering the crops.
Drones are like surveillance cameras that help farmers know about their fields and crops in real time without actually having to visit the field.
3. Quick decision-making for farmers almost 3x
Farmers when getting accurate, real-time data at quick internals, and they get the great scope to take timely decisions. They can beforehand plan practices that can help cultivate better yield or help eliminate practices that are a waste of time.
Finally, Farmers who use the latest farming tractors, implements, and drone technology are viable in performing performance-oriented farming.
4. 99% accuracy level in crop & field data
This advanced technology helps farmers precisely calculate the land size and crops and perform correct soil mapping. Hence, farmers get real-time data from sitting remotely to know the gaps in their current growth patterns.
5. Great evidence for Insurance Claims
Drones can help farmers effectively collect data and use it against any claims in case of crop damage/failures. Hence, these vehicles can also help calculate risks/losses associated with land too.
6. Helps save water
Farmers can use it in addition to traditional spraying methods. Since these drones use ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying technology, water bills will be greatly saved.
7. Agri-drones are easy to maintain.
Drones are low-cost and require less maintenance. So, its low-cost frame and precise spraying of pesticides help meet cost efficiency easily.
So, now we know the advantages of drones in India, let’s review the common types available in India.
Types of Drones in Agriculture in India
Drones in agriculture can be common of two types:
- Fixed-wing drones
- Multi-copter drones
Fixed-winged drones are known to have more improved flight capacity as they can withstand harsh weather conditions compared to multi-copter ones. In addition, fixed-wing ones can sustain longer flight times compared to multi-copter drones.
Usage of Drones in Agriculture – How Do They Work?
The most common drones include:-
- Navigation system
- GPS system
- Multiple sensors
- High-quality cameras
- Programmable controllers,
- Tools in the case of autonomous drones
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones can help farmers get more precise data/information than satellites for precision agriculture. Moreover, farmers can review the captured data through help agri-tech mobile or web software to decode the knowledge or insights.
Let’s see how drone technology in agriculture actually works.
Step 1 – Analysis of Crop Area
Farmers need to add technical GPS information of the required crop area into the drone’s navigation system. Hence, they need to establish a boundary or area where the complete analysis will occur.
Step 2 – Using Autonomous Drones
Autonomous drones can enter the flight location and patterns in their system for data capturing and analysis.
Step 3 – Data Uploading
These drones are self-reliant in collecting required data or information through their multispectral sensor/RGB sensors. So, this data is further added to the software for final analysis and interpretation.
Step 4 – Simplifying the Output
Once the data is collected, the technology helps format it so farmers or end users can easily interpret or analyse it. So, 3D mapping or photogrammetry are a few popular ways to display collected data.
Common Challenges Associated with the Use of Drones
Drones, despite being a blessing to Indian farming have some setbacks that cannot be ignored. So, here are a few challenges associated with the use of drones in agriculture.
- Farmers or smallholders require government approval to use drones.
- High-tech drones can be expensive for some people.
- Moreover, drone operation requires some technical knowledge and skills to fly it.
- The affordable drones in India often cover short distances and areas of land. However, if you need to cover large distances and crop fields, you might have to go for more technically advanced drones, which can be somewhat expensive.
- Along with this, online coverage can be an issue in rural areas. Furthermore, farmers might have to invest in advanced network or connectivity resources, which can add recurring expenses to farmers’ pockets.
- Finally, Agri-drones are weather dependent. So, they fly well when the weather is clear. Therefore, flying drones should be avoided when the weather is windy, cloudy or rainy.
These problems with drones in agriculture, however, are no big deal. They can be solved with some tactical approaches. Like you can buy the one that suits your needs and budget. And, regarding budget, let’s review how much agricultural drones price in India.
Agriculture Drone Price in India
Agriculture drone sprayer price in India starts between Rs. 4-5 lakh. Moreover, drones that are embedded with high-tech technology are priced between Rs. 8-10 lakh.
Government Schemes & Financial Support For Drones in Agriculture
Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has issued certain guidelines to help farmers or stakeholders in the agriculture sector have great access and affordance towards drones in agriculture. Additinally, the Government of India promotes drone use in agriculture through financial support under its sub-mission on agriculture mechanization. Besides this, the agriculture ministry in India is providing a grant of up to Rs. 10 lakhs for the purchase of drones to agricultural institutes.
Custom hiring centres set up by the cooperative society of farmers, rural entrepreneurs, and FPOs are there to provide financial aid or support to help with the purchase of a drone for agriculture.
- FPOs (Farmers Producers Organizations) are eligible to receive grants of up to 75% of the cost of agriculture drones for use over farmers’ fields.
- Along with this, Under “sub-mission on Agricultural Mechanization” (SMAM) provides grants of 100% on agriculture drones or Rs. 10 lakhs (whichever is less).
- Government grants a contingency expenditure of Rs.6000/hectare for agencies that do not want to buy drones but will want to hire them for the demonstrations from custom hiring centres, Hi-tech Hubs, start-ups, and drone manufacturers.
- However, this contingent expenditure to implementing agencies would be limited to Rs.3000/hectare.
- Furthermore, support agricultural services through drone application, 40% of the basic cost of the drone and its attachments or Rs.4 lakhs (whichever is less) would be available as financial assistance for drone purchase by existing custom hiring centres. Additionally, the custom hiring centres include centres which FPOs set up, Cooperative societies for farmers, FPOs and rural entrepreneurs.
Want to know your next tractor EMI? Apply for an easy tractor loan!
Which are the Best Agriculture Drones in India?
|1.||DJI Mavic 2 PRO||Highly recommended drone for mapping.|
|2.||DJI Agras MG-1||It’s a selling drone for land imaging and crop management.|
|3.||DJI Phantom 4||Very helpful drone for crop monitoring and management.|
|4.||DJI Maviac Pro||Ideal drone for fertilisers application.|
|5.||DJI Agras T20||Suitable for spraying fertilisers.|
|6.||DJI Agras T10||Compact aerial system with powerful spraying and spreading capabilities.|
|7.||DJI Agras T30||Is Ideal for spraying fertilizers, seeds, and feed.|
|8.||DJI Mavic Mini||Beginner-friendly drone for image capturing.|
Hence, agriculture drones greatly contribute to farming and overall agriculture activities. With this advanced technology, farmers can speed up their farming process, make quick decisions, and save on resources and bills.
Further, we discussed how drones in agriculture are used and what Govt. aided initiatives and subsidies are there to increase the distribution of drones to farmers. Moreover, the agriculture drone price in India is justified given the range of advanced functionality they help with. Also, buying drones in India is quite easy; you just have to decide on the budget, see the types of drones online, and compare the features based on requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions on Drones in Agriculture
Ques. Is using drones in agriculture legal in India?
Ans. India’s Union Aviation Minister approves the use of drones in agriculture. Even India’s Union Aviation Minister has issued a first type certificate under 2021 drone rules to a
Gurugram-based IoTechWorld for their Agribot — which is a tool used for precision agriculture.
Ques. What is precision agriculture?
Ans. Precision farming is the process of using high-tech sensors and analysis tools the crop yields. Furthermore, the process helps to increase production, reduce labour time, and add methods that can improve fertilizer management and irrigation processes.
Ques. To how many acres of land can drones help in spraying?
Ans. Most drones can spray to 14 acres of land per hour or up to 100 acres per hour.
Ques. What are the uses of drones in agriculture?
Ans. Drones are multipurpose and can be used for spraying fertilizers, aerial surveillance, land and crop monitoring, mapping, inspecting for damaged or rotting crops, and more.
Ques. What is drone farming?
Ans. Drone farming uses drone technology to monitor crops, spray fertilisers, and gather data to improve crop production.
Ques. Are there any drones for spraying pesticides?
Ans. Yes, there are multiple drones for spraying pesticides. Certain models like DJI Agras T10, DJI Agras T30, and DJI Mavic Mini are popular for targeted fertiliser applications. These drones are proven to have efficient spraying capacity over traditional sprayers.
Ques. What is the future of drones in agriculture?
Ans. Drones have a sustainable future in agriculture. So, it’s a promising and affordable technology for farmers that can help curb existing farming challenges and help meet food security smartly and effectively.
Ques. How much is the cost of agriculture drone spraying models?
Ans. Spraying drones can cost between Rs 3.5 lakhs to Rs 12.5 lakhs in India.