For thousands of years man has worked the land to generate food and income. For thousands of years this has been backbreaking, painstaking and time-consuming work. Over that period of time farming remained virtually unchanged, there were little advancements here and there but for the most part a farmer in the 80s would recognise the role of the farmer from ancient Egypt. Of course, the tools have been refined to some extent, but there really so much fine tuning that can be done to a hoe. Farming equipment with the exception of machinery is not hugely technical so the room for improvement has been narrow. With the invent of tractors and motorised equipment farming made its first real technological advance. They enabled processes to be completed in bulk loads and made farming a far more efficient venture. This allowed farms as a whole to grow and expand. Farmers were now able to harvest more crops so they could then grow more crops.
That beckoned in an age of larger farms and tractor and agriculture technology becoming a billion-dollar industry. But there was a peak to this growth. All this technology costs a lot of money and farmers were only able to grow so much to pay for it. It is a rarity the world over to find a farm that is equipped with the latest technology for each season. The truth is the yields and improvements were not substantial enough to keep up with the speed that the technology was improving.
But then in 1987, Yamaha started a revolution. They sold a crop sprayer that worked like a helicopter. This rudimentary machine was the birth of the drone. It was a slow birth though. Drones didn’t really “take-off” as expected. They certainly weren’t the ground-breaking bit of tech that swept the world like wildfire that most commonplace technology is. Drones had a troubled start to life, they were expensive, lacked much in the way of efficiency and as a result suffered with a lack of marketability.
Companies and manufacturers thankfully persevered, and today drones are starting an agricultural revolution the likes the farming world hasn’t seen before. Unlike tractors, drones don’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unlike tractors they are multifunctional and can be utilised broadly across the entire farm. The only real limit on a drone’s usability is the farmers imagination.
We have seen drones sow, fertilise, spray, irrigate and search for livestock. We have seen them collect data and process the information to help farmers better understand their land and how to achieve the best yields. The list of drone capabilities really does go on.
This in turn means the farms that are using them are growing further. Their yields are improving, the profits are surging and farmers are buying up more land and expanding. The difference is that drones can always be purchased at relatively low cost so this expansion is only limited by a farmer’s ability to find fertile soil.
The drone revolution is upon us and we are seeing fantastic and inexpensive results. We think it is time to celebrate them a little more.