(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle and K-State’s Dr. Dale Blasi as they discuss uses for quadcopters in cattle operations.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer at the Kansas Farm Bureau building visiting with Dale Blasi. Dale, you’re in the Animal Science Department and you’re going to be talking about drones or unmanned flying apparatuses. (Dale) That’s correct Kyle. We’re actually looking at the application of quadcopters for use with beef applications. And you sit down and think about the several places where they may come in handy, we’re certainly exploring those venues as well as looking at how we can enhance our research with newly arrived, highly stressed stocker calves. (Kyle) Well you know, that is a great point. You have that one animal that’s over the hill that’s maybe not easy to see from the ground, but you can find him with that and then go deal with it. (Dale) That’s absolutely right and the really neat thing about technology is that it’s always improving. And I just saw last week a friend who had FLIR camera capabilities for his iPhone. Imagine if you will, having the capability of utilizing a specialized camera on an unmanned vehicle or a quadcopter to look for animals during the evening hours if you don’t have them in a pasture trapped to do any calving or anything. I think there’s a lot of opportunity, especially for inventorying animals. (Kyle) Now the average farmer is in his upper 50s, can the average farmer run one of these? (Dale) Practice makes perfect. And I’d be the first to admit that on a couple of my initial maiden voyages with the machine I actually did turn it upside down on the pavement. So, it does take a little bit of practice. It takes a little bit of patience, but anybody can certainly do it. (Kyle) On a day without a lot of wind, how fast will they fly or how fast can you cover a section of ground? (Dale) We basically have about 20 minutes of air time and there’s several factors that affect the longevity of these specialized batteries. Cold weather will certainly impact the performance of the vehicle. Extreme heat. Wind certainly makes the motor have to work much quicker and more harder to meet where it needs to go. But on individual flights, I’ve gone out a maximum of 5,000 foot from my point of where I released it out and I’ve gone out almost to a mile utilizing this particular model. (Kyle) So, I could probably do a fair job of looking around at least a half a section and maybe even a section too. But if I see something then I can go in and get a closer look. (Dale) Well certainly and you think about a high rain event, where water gaps might be going out, or maybe basically programming the unit to fly all of the water tanks to check on whatever apparatus may be, but to do a quick fly, especially if the ground is too wet to take a vehicle out on, I think there’s a lot of opportunities to utilize this particular technology. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Dale Blasi. He’s with Kansas State University. This is Kyle Bauer reporting from Kansas Farm Bureau. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Folks, come back after these messages from our sponsors for this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.