Drones: Necessary Tool or Toy?
Aug 07, 2017
Over the last few years, you couldn't flip a page in a farm magazine or surf to an ag website without running into an excited article about drones. Here in August, this fascination with these flying wonders is peaking, because let's face it, if I could find come way to avoid wading through this corn to scout for disease and pests or check the stand, I'd take it.
But as much as I love technology, I think we may be going a little bit overboard. Consider this headline from the Des Moines Register. I'm not picking on the author, but… seriously? Before we embrace this view of the future, let's compare and contrast these two tools.
1. First, can it take cool videos?
2. Can it pull implements?
3. Does it have cup holders?
4. Can you find it in a 400 acre cornfield after it breaks down?
5. Will it work in a 35 mile per hour wind?
6. Finally, will it go through a combine?
It was close, but you can see the tractor wins four to two in this scientific analysis. Moreover, my experience is drones are very good at finding problems, but almost no help in solving them. It only leads to agonizing decisions about whether the threat is worth wading into the field or pouring good money after bad.
I will admit, scouting with a drone is much better for your life expectancy than flying over your fields with an amateur pilot buddy in an antique puddle-jumper, but you probably need to pray more often anyway.
I know what some of you are thinking, I'm just dissing drones because I'm not cool enough to own one. Nothing could be further from the truth.