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Farmers taking to the skies with drone technology

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WATCH ABOVE: Farming operations can cover acres and acres of land. Now, farmers are taking to the skies to help monitor their livestock and crops. As Erik Bay explains, drone are changing how those in the ag sector see their world. – Mar 16, 2022

Seeing farmers out standing in their fields could become a thing of the past.

Some producers are turning to drones to keep an eye on their operations.

“There’s a number of different things you can do with it,” Landview Drones’ head instructor Robin Harrison said.

“Most of the farmers will use them to monitor their crops in different senses, to use for crop health and yield potential and things like that. Also cattle farmers will use them to monitor their cattle, check calving pens.”

Harrison is teaching courses across Alberta.

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At the Ag Drone School, participants learn about drones, their potential uses on the farm, Canadian aviation regulations and also get some air time.

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Farmers earn their basic pilot certificate, allowing them to fly larger drones that can be equipped with cameras and even sprayers.

Seed farmer Will van Roessel attended the two-day course in Bow Island, Alta.

“I’ve always been kind of intrigued by drones and really kind of wondering what the capability of drones were for farm use,” van Roessel said.

He’s not alone.

Harrison began instructing the program seven years ago and is seeing the interest grow.

“Farmers are starting to realize now that they have a tool that can help them a lot on various different projects.”

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As the technology continues to progress, drone technician Cody Schenkey expects more farmers to watch their land from the skies.

“The technology is getting cheaper (and) more accessible, so it’s really good to see people from agriculture to just the average person getting into drones,” Schenkey said.

That includes van Roessel, who is now certified.

“I’m definitely interested in getting a basic drone with a regular-type camera to start with and get some practice with that,” he said

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And ready for takeoff.

“We’re hoping to use it for things like checking parts of fields where we think we have a problem and we can maybe get a better view of a certain area without having to do a lot of walking.”

Logging more air miles and fewer steps.

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