Why would I want to spend several thousand on a drone, when I can do the same thing with my pickup or four wheeler? The answer is: With a drone, you can do many tasks much faster, and see more. Finding a sick critter faster may save it. Saving time is worth something.
With rough ground, trees or large pastures, it takes time to get to destinations, or to find the cattle. Is your time worth anything? Yes, and a drone can help you spend it on tasks that increase your bottom line.
What can a drone do well? It can fly at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour to destinations about 3 miles from where you launch it. It has about a 30 minute battery.
–Checking water sources. How long do you spend driving out to check the creep feeder, feed bunk, windmill or water tank? Barger Drone is developing software to allow automated flights to go see that water source automatically, taking pictures for you to review later. Contact us if you want to help beta test this software.
–Finding the cattle. Quickly. Do you know if the cattle are in? Did you bump all over the pasture looking at each group, to see if one was sick? Are the bulls with your cows? Having the bull visiting the neighbor’s cows is not be helpful. It is easier to see something that is laying down, or by itself, from 150 feet in the air. This situation usually spells trouble, and you may not see it driving around.
–Counting the cattle. Just by flying over, you can take a video or photos of your entire herd. If you are so inclined, counting the animals in the video or the photos can tell you if something is missing. This can be done upon landing, by uploading the video or photos to your tablet. Barger Drone is working with researchers and developers to create automated counting of livestock, based upon the data collected by the drone.
Seeing what the drone shows is critical. A regular telephone or tablet will not give you a good picture on a sunny day, when you are flying a drone. Flying on a calm, sunny day is one of the best times to check your herd. The tablets Barger Drone provides are designed to avoid avoid the screen glare on your phone.
Drones are becoming easier to fly and use. A recent article from Ag Today describes how DJI Phantoms have safety features and capabilities that make them accessible to “regular” producers, rather than just professional pilots. And we are just getting started.