Drones could become a farmer's best friend - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Drones could become a farmer's best friend

Brian Hayes Brian Hayes
The view from above The view from above

For many folks in south Georgia, farming isn't just a way to make a living,  it's a way of life. That way of life is getting more high tech.

 As it flies hundreds of feet up in the air, the drone's camera does more than provide a bird's eye view of the land. They capture images of how the crop is progressing in the fields. 

"Whether you have a bad spot, if you have a disease, or something that's starting out there in the middle of the field that you can't really see from the edge," said Grady Co. Extension Agent Brian Hayes.

Hayes said he's working to educate farmers about the benefits of this new technology. "All of them are excited about it.  They say, 'Bring it out.  I want to see it fly! I want to see you do it.'"

But Hayes said along with that excitement, there is some hesitation.  "Growers are kind of stuck in the way of doing it the way they've always done it.  They have to see the value of it."

And despite the nearly $15,000 price tag on some drones,  Hayes believes the technology will actually save farmers money,  

"I've seen pictures where part of the irrigation system was set up wrong.  The nozzles were put in backwards.  So part of that section was not getting enough water and the other parts were getting over watered," said Hayes.

A piece of equipment with an ability to catch problem areas before they grow into costly disasters.

Hayes said he's the only agent in the state with a camera-equipped drone for the fields, and believes farmers of all crops could benefit.

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