We all know that getting the most out of the land we’re working with means higher returns. One key area of focus is water drainage. Drowned out land damages crops, which means a lower overall yield, and less money in your pocket.
Traditional ways of working out land drainage have typically meant multiple days in the field manually going over the area to try to develop a solution. However, with drone technology this work can be done quicker and with more accuracy, which in turn saves you money.
Here’s how drone drainage elevation mapping works…
- The drone flies over your land and produces an elevation map to see how the land flows. A coloured contour map quickly shows the general topography at a glance.
- We then go a step further and produce a drainage map, which shows the natural water flow on the land. It also points out where water is getting trapped in sinks and depressions. This is crucial information, as it enables you to make a better-informed decision about what to do next. For some farmers we’ve worked with, the outcome is to simply clear up the natural flow paths of the water, rather than wasting time and money moving more dirt than they need to.
- You then upload the information directly into your tractor and drive out with your scraping equipment, following the lines on the report.
Outlining the Benefits:
TIME: We asked a client of ours and he said it took him around 5-6 days to manually look over his land quarter and then execute a drainage project. Using our reports, he did it in a day and a half.
ACCURACY: Our drones cover literally every inch of the field to a 5cm degree of accuracy, whereas driving a vehicle can mean missing areas as you turn or avoid areas you might get stuck in. We also invest in the best technology in the business, for example, the UAV and related equipment we use for this work costs $100k+. Using inferior equipment and attempting to decipher the wealth of data a drone can generate is almost always counter-productive.
MONEY: To put this in some financial perspective, if a canola farmer has three acres of drowned out land he’s potentially losing up to 40 bushels per acre. At $10 per bushel he’s missing out on $1,200 per field – it’s time to take that land and money back. Another way people save is that sometimes the reports will show only minor adjustments that need making, where you can use the natural water flow patterns of the land instead of taking out mounds of dirt at greater expense.
DAMAGE CONTROL: The other benefit to using a drone versus a tractor, truck, or ATV is that it doesn’t disturb the land. If you’ve got a freshly planted field or one that’s wet then running a vehicle over it multiple times is going to cause some wear and tear. There’s also bio security to take into consideration, which is easily spread from field to field via vehicles. For example, club root can infect a field of canola with just a few spores, taking it out of rotation for seven years. Also, using the same technology you could decide to collect water in certain areas to help when it gets too dry.
APPROVALS: The report we generate can help farmers navigate any approvals they might need from local government and conservation districts. If you need your neighbour to understand and sign off on your drainage plans, then the reports are an easy way to show them what they are and how they’re affected.
Let us know if you have any questions about drainage, or drone technology in general. This is just one service we offer, it just happens to be one we’re especially passionate about as the results always help our clients, and that’s what we’re in the business of doing.