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R.Perry

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Since I'm part of an AG and Ranch family it can be a hard sell. Farmers today need to make sure they are spending their money wisely. The old timers are less likely to rely on crop health reports than the younger ones. The majority want to see the crops or orchards for themselves.
Over the past six months I would guess I have talked to fifty or sixty orchard owners and have mapped two farms. Most can't seem to see the value in what we are able to give them.
 
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Tanner Harris

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Totally agree - there's always a balance in agriculture between remote sensing and ground truthing. Sometimes, you've got to just see the plant for yourself!
 

Pawel

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I fully agree. Based on mine experience, have been focusing on ag drone services for a few years now, it is really hard to get farmers see added value of drone mapping. Regardless RGB or multispectral. In fact we lose to sattelite imagery considering availability of maps and pricing especially when remote locations are to be served. A niche of the market being trial plots flying and analyzing is becoming more and more difficult too as potential customers such as e.g. ag chemical/seed/fertilizer etc. companies commenced building their own teams of pilots etc.
Greetings from Poland.
 

Fred Garvin

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The old timers are less likely to rely on crop health reports than the younger ones. The majority want to see the crops or orchards for themselves.

My grandfather (Mom's dad) was a farmer in the Texas Panhandle back in the 20's and 30's until the Dustbowl days wiped them out. He became a Custom Cutter and had several combines and dump trucks, harvesting Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. Back in the early/mid 70's I learned to drive a combine, but my uncles/cousins did that and they put me in the back of a dump truck to shovel grain level as the combines augured out their bins. (as a city/suburb child visiting in summer I was miserable) I remember, as a little kid, sitting next to my uncles' legs, looking out that huge window, watching the header turn to bring in the wheat. Those big John Deere combines had AC, 8 Tracks and CB's. Real nice ride when it was 100+ outside.

Pappy could take one look at a field (Wheat/Maize/Corn) and tell immediately if it was ready for harvest, what the issues were, what the yield would be, if the soil needed to rotate and what to plant next....I don't think any drone could have told him anything useful.
 
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R.Perry

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Farm equipment has changed drastically depending on the crops. We have shakers for harvesting almonds. Went from horses to atvs to chase and herd cattle, many still uses horses as well. Drones are now used to find cattle.
I'm a city boy (Los Gatos, CA) that married a country girl, so it was a change in lifestyle to say the least, but a good one.
One thing we see it the fuel prices are really hurting the economy, the cost of getting product to market has skyrocketed.
 

R.Perry

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The other issue is farmers today are really concerned about operational costs rising so quickly so they are tightening their belts and being much more conservative. The tractor that should be replaced, isn't being replaced. Chemicals and fertilizers have gone up over 20% just in the last six months. The thing is you must pass those increases off or your going to go broke.
 

Pawel

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The other issue is farmers today are really concerned about operational costs rising so quickly so they are tightening their belts and being much more conservative. The tractor that should be replaced, isn't being replaced. Chemicals and fertilizers have gone up over 20% just in the last six months. The thing is you must pass those increases off or your going to go broke.
And this is where a satellite map could definitely bring value helping e.g. spreading dear fertilizers/chemicals where the need is instead of applying flat rates. Needless to say that no field is homogenous so crops grow better or worse in places. And no farmer can tell a difference and identify spots in need of higher or lower dose staying on the edge of the field. Unless the field is a few acres of land. Drones can help (save money) here too.
We were asked once to fly a field of app. 200 acres of corn. All a farmer knew was that he had had 2 months of rain and expected that part of his field would be wet. How much wet and where in the field water was was a mistery. It was mid Aug. so as you can imagine corn was taller than a man. Nothing was visible from either side of the field cause corn was standing perfectly on the perimiter of the field. Guess what a 40 min flight and a bit of processing revealed!?
The map showed that close to everything resambled a lake rather than a field.
Drones can surely help.
Other application of drones is imagery based plant phenotyping. Quick, reliable, tireless and so on.
Sorry for this lenghty comment.
 
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pattersongs

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Not at all too long a response. Love the insight from guys that are in both drone and ag businesses. If we know the objections to drone usage in ag, we can all put our collective heads together to develop marketing to overcome these issues. We know that it's for the greater good, but that it's just hard to get people to conceptualize the overall benefits in savings; especially with the current economic climate.
 

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