Farmers use drones to better manage their operations

Jeff VanderWerff uses a drone for multiple purposes on his farm in Sparta, Mich.

By Leah Call

Drone technology is becoming an integral part of precision agriculture practices throughout the Midwest. This aerial eye in the sky enables farmers to increase efficiencies and boost productivity. With drones, farmers can monitor crops and livestock and manage inputs through surveying and mapping with spectrum, thermal and near infrared imagery.

“Drones are an interesting piece of technology to utilize,” said Jeff VanderWerff, who farms 200 acres of apples and 2,000 acres of crops with his father, uncle and brother in Sparta, Mich. “We use them primarily for scouting purposes and for management purposes in our orchard.

“When you get a group of workers out into an apple orchard, it is hard to keep track of where all the workers are, where all the bins are,” VanderWerff continued. “The drone allows me to find my workers and find my fruit bins quickly and efficiently versus spending half an hour on the Gator driving through an orchard. I can just fly over and get an aerial view of what is going on.” Continue reading “Farmers use drones to better manage their operations”

Apps help farmers keep an eye on the weather

By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor

There is no doubt weather plays a vital role in a farm’s success. Thanks to technology, farmers now have access to essential weather information in the palm of their hand, providing them with information about what to expect in the coming hours and hard data about the previous 24 hours, as well as historical data.

The Internet is crowded with weather apps, but farmers need an app specifically designed for their needs and includes specific information, such as precipitation totals and precise information about wind speed and direction. Developers have rolled out multiple applications to meet farmers’ needs.

The DTN Ag Weather Tools app, which is only available in iTunes, debuted five years ago and relies on information from weather stations across the country. The app – one of the first designed exclusively for the ag industry –  features GPS-based roaming alerts, forecasts and touch screen interactive displays.

Continue reading “Apps help farmers keep an eye on the weather”