March 1, 2017

Drones: the new Ag tech solution

By Annette Tait

Global positioning systems took the agriculture industry by storm, introducing precision in a way that producers had only imagined. Now, drones are making outcomes from GPS-guided machinery look like big-block toddler Legos in comparison to the tiny standard-sized version.
At first the audience was curious as to the capabilities of drones brought to the Oliver Soil Conservation District Producers meeting by North Dakota State University Extension Specialist John Nowatzki. His videos of drones in action, high resolution photographs, the volume and detail of data produced by the small flying workhorses, and application of that data to production agriculture -- farm and ranch-based -- held them spellbound.
“Agricultural machinery specialist” doesn’t begin to describe the work done by Nowatzki, who is also a faculty member and principal investigator on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) application to agriculture.
“We’re just at the beginning of where precision ag is going to be much more specific,” Nowatzski said. “Right now, you make every decision. That’s not going to be true in the future.”


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