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Drones Carry Lots of Potential Uses for Farmers

Boston Magazine

A webinar series that began Wednesday focuses on drone use in agriculture.  According to a University of Missouri Extension specialist, it’s estimated that, once regulations on drones are finalized by the federal government, about 80 percent of their use will be in the agricultural field.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

The series is being presented through eXtension, a collaboration of all land grant universities in the United States, and by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture Learning Network.

Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University Extension in Webster County, says it will likely be at least a year before the federal government finalizes regulations on the use of drones.  But he believes they'll be widely used in the field of agriculture in the future.  According to Schultheis, they can be used in a number of ways.

"Things like checking cattle, identifying plants that you can't see from the ground and gps locating those so that you can go out to the field and actually treat those or identify insect infestations," he said.

He said drones can be used to identify crop damage after storms for insurance purposes, to spray only certain areas with insecticides rather than an entire field, watch for cattle rustlers and detect sick animals.

"Just because of elevated temperature they would have a higher thermal signature than all the healthy ones," he said.

The year-long series is free and is available to anyone who's interested in it, including farmers, 4H youth and any other youth groups that want to learn about the technology, Schultheis says.

To access the webinars, click here.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.