Drones Showcased As Possible Farming Tool At Exposition

Vendors At Sun Prairie's 'Farm Technology Days' Say Devices Can Give Farmers A Birds-Eye View Of Crops

Parth Shah/WPR

Small drones designed to help farmers monitor crop conditions are among the popular innovations at this year’s Farm Technology Days in Sun Prairie.

Among the hundreds of agricultural businesses at the three-day exposition are vendors selling the drones, which resemble small remote-controlled helicopters. They say the devices can give farmers a birds-eye view of their property.

Zach Fiene, one of the owners of DMZ Aerials, said making scouting more efficient is the main purpose of the drones.

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“Scouting initially is a pretty manual process. You’re walking through the field looking for nutrient deficiencies and diseases. You can imagine if you get into fields larger than 100 acres, to walk that takes forever. We can fly these fields a lot faster,” he said.

David Gan, the owner of Top Gan Drones, said that in addition to helping farmers scout their land, future drones will be able to fertilize crops.

“Majority of the work our drones do is scouting and surveying,” he said. “The next generation of drones will be bigger with more capacity to carry more weight so they can fertilize.”

Josh Dykema is a corn and soybean farmer from Illinois who is considering buying a drone. Right now, he scouts his farmland on foot.

“Walking the fields takes a little bit of time and with corn being as tall as it is, it’s a lot harder to walk,” he said. “So it’s something that might be advantageous to purchase.”

But cost is a deciding factor for Dykema, and the starting price for a farm drone from the vendors is around $3,500.