Drones: The Newest Water-Saving Tool for Parched Farms

Farmers represent a growing share of the market for drones. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts farms will eventually account for 80 percent of the commercial drone market. And in California, some farmers are looking at the technology as a way to save water during the drought.

When we last checked in with him five years ago, then 27-year-old Zach Sheely was already on the cutting edge of water conservation, using his iPhone to check how much water his tomatoes were getting. (Our audio slideshow from that story shows Sheely engaged in his two passions—farming and singing opera.) Sheely and his dad, Ted, were among the first to convert to remote-controlled drip irrigation on their sprawling Kings County farm. Now they’re taking one more step into the future.

They recently gathered some of their neighbors to watch a demo of a drone that can collect video and thermal images of farmland. “You’ve got a tablet which is going to help figure out the mission, and is connected to a ground control station,” Zach Sheely explains. … (Read more)

John Faus of HoneyComb demonstrating an agricultural drone. (Photo courtesy Zach Sheely)

Source: Kqed.org