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  1. #1
    Super Moderator PotterB is on a distinguished road
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    Farming with drones

    Who uses drones / UAVs / UASs / whatever your preferred name for them? Curious to hear what models, what you like, what you don't like, etc. If you don't own a drone, why not? Just wanted to kick start a drone conversation. We've written quite a bit about them at www.farmwithdrones.com. Check it out if you have some time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dennis1 is on a distinguished road
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    FAA moving to write rules for UAVs ‘as fast as we can’






    Jul 9, 2014 | Delta Farm Press
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    When Jim Williams accepted an invitation to speak at the Delta AgTech Symposium, he expected to get some tough questions about why the FAA wasn’t moving faster to finalize the rules of operating unmanned aerial systems or UAS.

    Williams, manager of Unmanned Aerial System Integration for the FAA, got those, but he offered a spirited explanation of why it's taking the agency much longer than UAV enthusiasts want to see to implement new rules that will allow commercial uses for the systems.

    “Congress directed us to do a lot of work, but they did not exempt us from any of the procedures that they put in place that govern the rulemaking process," he said. "I can talk about the bureacuracy in Washington and what all we're having to do, but that just sounds like making excuses. The bottom line is since I’ve come on board we’ve made it a priority for the agency, and we’re moving faster than we ever have.”


    Related

    »UAV Integration manager says FAA on track to meet September 2015 deadline

    »Consultants find ease, multiple uses for drones in agriculture

    Williams talked about steps the FAA is taking to keep development of UAV moving while it works through the task of addressing the safety and privacy issues Congress has tasked it with including in the new rules in a presentation at the Delta AgTech Symposium at the Memphis, Tenn., Agricenter.

    To see more about the roadmap the FAA is using to meet the mandate in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, visit this pdf.

    http://deltafarmpress.com/government/faa-moving-write-rules-uavs-fast-we-can

  3. #3
    Super Moderator PotterB is on a distinguished road
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    I've heard huge skepticism about the FAA's ability to get any final rulings in place before 2016-17. This technology is likely going to remain in a huge legal gray area for the next 2 years.

  4. #4
    I am currently flying a DJI Phantom Vision2 and love it for entry level. I am also awaiting a new style drone with NIR and NDVI technology

  5. #5
    Senior Member dennis1 is on a distinguished road
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    Arkansas Soybeans: To Test for Drought Tolerance, Researchers Go Fly a Kite AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source - See more at: http://agfax.com/2014/07/30/arkansas-soybeans-test-drought-tolerance-researchers-go-fly-kite/#sthash.0TN6krJP.dpuf

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    A kite’s no toy to Larry Purcell. Following in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, Purcell flies kites in the name of science. Purcell, holder of the Altheimer Chair for Soybean Research for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, is trying to understand the mechanisms that allow some plants to tolerate drought better than others. The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board supports his research project. One of the keys was to measure the temperatures of plants under specific conditions of moisture, weather and other factors. “The plant canopy is cooler when water is available,” Purcell said. “The plants get warmer when water becomes scarce.” - See more at: http://agfax.com/2014/07/30/arkansas-soybeans-test-drought-tolerance-researchers-go-fly-kite/#sthash.0TN6krJP.dpuf

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    The cooling is the result of transpiration, Purcell said, the mechanism by which plants draw water from the soil, transport it through the plant and evaporate through stomates, tiny holes in the leaves and stems that enlarge or shrink to control movement of moisture and gases. When water is scarce, evaporation is restricted and the plant’s temperature rises. Research has shown some soybean plants remain cooler than others under drought conditions. “The cooler plants have some mechanism that allows them to use water more efficiently,” Purcell said. “Some soybean genotypes do not wilt as quickly because they conserve water in the soil, providing a reserve during a drought,” Purcell said. “Other plants use deeper rooting to draw water from deeper strata in the soil. Both traits allow a plant to continue active growth, which results in water evaporating from the leaves.” Purcell has identified molecular markers for these genetic traits and has discovered that those same molecular

    markers are associated with higher yields. Early work on drought tolerance required measuring temperature and rating the color of the plants from the ground. It was a painstaking process of walking through each field during mid-day when weather conditions might be most consistent. The problem, Purcell said, was that atmospheric conditions often changed before he could record the data from a field. The sun changed position and the temperature would rise as the day progressed. In addition, wind speed could change or clouds might roll in and cause inconsistent temperature readings. The result was that measurements he took at 11 a.m. were not comparable to those he recorded at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. Purcell needed a way to rapidly record data from thousands of soybean plants under the same ambient conditions. The answer was aerial photography. “Aerial sensing allows us to measure an entire field at once,” Purcell said. From the air, an infrared camera can detect temperature changes as tiny as a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit and cover a field in minutes instead of hours. A visible light camera can record changes in greenness that indicate early maturity when drought stressed during seed fill. Purcell first tried using a remote-controlled drone that could mount the cameras and fly predetermined routes over his research fields. But he soon ran up against complex and restrictive FAA regulations. So Purcell turned to technology that originated more than 2,500 years ago in China. As it turns out, kite aerial photography, or KAP, has a considerable following, and he found a lot of help from members of KAP organizations. Purcell uses three kites, each one adapted to flying at different wind speeds. When there’s little or no wind, he
    uses a six-foot diameter balloon with a three-point tether. The aim for each vehicle is to provide the most stable platform possible for photography. Once launched, Purcell and his research assistants can walk the kite or balloon across a field while the camera shoots a sequence of infrared or visible light photos. From launch to recovery, he said, this system can record data from a field in 30 minutes. The photos are later downloaded to a computer where the infrared pixels are correlated with temperatures and average values are assigned to segments of a field. Visible colors of the plants indicate water use. The color photos are being used to identify genotypes that do not have a shortened seed-fill period in response to drought. The results are further correlated with genetic markers that are known to be associated with plant traits, such as how fast they wilt in a drought or how availability of water affects yield. Purcell said the results are promising. For example, infrared measurements of plant temperatures reveal drought stress before the soybeans show any physiological sign of it. “Our analysis of these traits is part of the pathway toward building a useful tool for plant breeders who are trying to develop drought tolerant varieties,” Purcell said.

  6. #6
    Senior Member dennis1 is on a distinguished road
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    Now at the other end of the spectrum:

    What a Drone Can See From 17,500 Feet (close to 4 miles).
    And what is shown is only what the govt wants you to see.


    http://www.youtube.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4

  7. #7
    Senior Member dennis1 is on a distinguished road
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    BUT now this:

    FAA drone ruling said to be setback for farmers, research






    Aug 10, 2014 Paul Hollis | Southeast Farm Press


    A recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruling that governs the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or so-called drones in commercial agriculture is a setback for farmers and those whose research directly benefits farmers, says an Auburn University Extension specialist.

    “At this time, farmers are unable to fly over crop fields or pastureland to capture pictures or video of anything they plan to sell commercially,” says John Fulton, Auburn University Extension precision agriculture specialist.

    “For a majority of use on the farm and research, this means development and understanding of this technology must cease until the FAA provides updated guidelines. However, one is still able to fly as a hobbyist over their property. They can also take pictures of non-commercial items,” says Fulton.

    The ruling, issued on July 3 by the FAA, states, “Farmers, ranchers and all commercial operators are prohibited from using UASs until the FAA institutes regulations for the safe integration of UASs into National Airspace. The FAA was given a deadline by Congress to allow commercial drone flights by September 2015. The Office of Inspector General released an audit this week that doubts the FAA will meet this deadline.”

    “Overall, the ruling sets U.S. agriculture back and will put us behind on using this type technology to enhance the production of food and fiber,” says Fulton. “For Auburn University, we will be unable to develop the needed sensor systems and processing algorithms to better manage crops and inputs for our Alabama farmers. Essentially, we are grounded from crop research with UAS’s until they allow COAs to be established at universities for crop research. Again, this represents a setback to us and the education we can provide farmers and the ag industry on the beneficial uses of UAS’s in agriculture.”

    A UAS demonstration that had been scheduled in a central Alabama farmer’s field on July 8 was cancelled shortly after the FAA ruling.

    “At this time, it is difficult to know when researchers and the agriculture industry might be able to again fly over commercial crops and further develop the needed systems to support agriculture,” says Fulton.

    The announcement, he says, was a surprise since the wording provided in the release differed from original interpretations that the agriculture industry had understood over the past couple of years.

    “The agriculture industry needs these types of new technologies to fine-tune the management of crops, pastures and animals. The public expects farmers to manage in a sustainable manner while being environmental stewards, and these types of technologies provide the capability to support that expectation,” says the Extension specialist.

    The ruling is limiting the advancement of Alabama farmers, Fulton says. “It is a detriment to the entire ag sector. I respect the FAA and its responsibility, but agriculture is trying to use this technology in a beneficial way; not misuse it. The FAA needs to quickly provide guidelines or a new ruling. It is interesting that one has the inability to capture valuable information, at low altitudes, on private farmland.”
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    The FAA ruling clarifies the difference between a hobby use and non-hobby use of unmanned aircraft systems or drones, says, R.J. Karney, rural development specialist for American Farm Bureau.

    “If a farmer just wants to use an unmanned aircraft system to view crops or a field that their family is going to consume, they can utilize that technology. But if it is for a commercial farming operation – the farmer’s going to take that product and sell it to a consumer – then they can no longer utilize that technology according to the FAA, says Karney.

    He says there are many practical on-farm uses for drones that would benefit farmers and ranchers.

    “One of the primary uses will be for aerial photography. What a farmer can do is place an infrared camera on an unmanned aircraft system. The infrared technology will be able to check the crops for diseases that the farmer then can go and tackle at a quicker pace than having to walk the field,” says Karney.

    The FAA is unlikely to meet the September 2015 for regulating commercial drone flights due to a lack of staff and funding, he adds, with the technology currently outpacing rules and regulations.

    “Japan, for example, has been utilizing unmanned aircraft system for agriculture since the late 1980s, and we don’t want our farmers and ranchers to fall even further behind with the use of this technology,” says Karney.

    In its ruling, the FAA makes a distinction between a hobby and non-hobby use of a UAS in farmer fields. Viewing a field to determine whether crops need water when they are grown for personal enjoyment is a hobby use, while determining whether crops need to be watered that are grown as part of commercial farming operation is a non-hobby use.
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    « FAA drone ruling said to be setback for farmers, research

  8. #8
    Junior Member FleetDrones is on a distinguished road
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    I am new here so I don't know too much. Are there any farmers here that is interested in using drones?
    I understand that the multi-copter ones have a very short battery life and long charge time. I wonder if that is what keeps them from being widely adapted. Or there just really isn't much value to have a complete aerial view of the fields. Or the it's just that the farmers don't want to mess with FAA regulations at all?
    I am really interested in this, any insights would be helpful. If you would like to discuss further in greater detail shoot me an email qupacalipse@yahoo.com

  9. #9
    Moderator drdiederich is on a distinguished road drdiederich's Avatar
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    I think drones look fun but am yet to see how they would be practically useful in my operation.... I might get one just for fun though.
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  10. #10
    Senior Member jb197 is on a distinguished road
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    First off I find it hard to believe the FAA can tell you to stop doing something before there are regulations in place. Secondly, airspace from ground level to 700 or 1200 feet that isn't directly above an airport is uncontrolled airspace according to Wikipedia. No one is going to stop you from flying a drone over your own fields at under 700 feet.

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