Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Decatur Ag Show Promotes Drones

The first ever precision aerial agriculture show is happening right now in Decatur.

There are hundreds of people from all over the world who are learning about recreational unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

They're small remote-controlled flying devices that can get up to several hundred feet in the air. They can hover and they're equipped to carry cameras and other sensing devices.

Farmers use them to fly above their fields, checking for any problematic areas.

"It's going to effect our ability to take a look at farm fields from a high, understand what kind of weeds problems that we might have, or what kind of dry conditions there might be that are effecting crops," said Bob Flider, director of the Department of Agriculture.

Farmers typically have to check for diseases or weeds within their crops by walking through their fields. But that can take hours, or even days. But the use of drones can help spot problems in a fraction of that time.

Although the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits commercial use of drones, the agriculture show received special permission to fly the drones at the show, with certain restrictions.

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