The world's largest retailer applied for six patents last year on drones that aim to prevent damage to crops, control pest attacks on farms and cross-pollinate plants, according to U.S. Patents and Trademark Office documents that were made public last week and seen by Reuters. | File photo

Walmart patents hint at future where its drones tend the farms

NEW YORK/CHICAGO, March 15 (Reuters) – Walmart Inc’s patent filings hint that it may see a future where farmers use its drones to not only spot crop problems but selectively apply chemicals or even disperse pollen to bring shoppers the freshest and cheapest food possible. The world’s largest retailer applied for six patents last year […] Read more

Roga Drone will use Kray Technonogy’s eight-rotor, hybrid UAV to spray from a 16.5 foot wide boom. The company is planning to cover 40 to 50 acres per hour, depending on label rates of the pesticide being applied.  |  Don Campbell photo

The drones are coming to spray your crops

CORRECTION: This story originally said Don Campbell revived approval from Transport Canada to apply crop protection products with a drone. However, Transport Canada only gave Campbell a special approval to emit fluids from a drone. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency is responsible for the regulation of pest control products in Canada.   Roga Drone is […] Read more

David MacMillan, left, and Norm Lamothe started Deveron 2 1/2 years ago and have seen some large partners come on board, including Climate Corp. The drone services company provides producers with a fee-for-service aerial imaging and data coverage of their fields.  |  Michael Raine photo

The little plane that did

A farmer and a Toronto entrepreneur have taken their dream from door knocking to delivery in 2 1/2 years. Norm Lamothe and David MacMillan came together to lift agricultural aerial drones to the level of large-scale service provider. “When you have a family farm with limited acres you need another plan to ensure you have […] Read more

Drones are becoming ever more useful in agricultural applications, as is the use of sensors for various purposes.  |  File photo

Sensor sensibility

Canadian farmers are dithering when it comes to using specialized sensors, according to a Glacier FarmMedia survey. In an online survey filled out by 428 farmers from late August to mid-October, only seven percent of respondents said they have fully adopted the use of specialized sensors, and only 20 percent are actively testing them. In […] Read more

Drones are becoming increasingly popular in court to help farmers get a better deal on cases that involve pipeline development.  |  Keith Wilson Photo

Drone video used for court cases

Aerial drones are known as tools to help farmers in the field, but the gadgets are becoming increasingly known in court rooms or dispute hearings to help farmers more quickly resolve cases, and maybe get a better deal. Keith Wilson, an agriculture and environmental lawyer who has worked in Alberta’s Farmers’ Advocate Office, has been […] Read more

John Church of Thompson Rivers University is investigating drones and traceability technology.  |  John Church photo

New ear tags, drones keep tabs

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When it comes to managing his cattle, Jeff Braisher has found it all comes down to one thing. Whether the British Columbia rancher is counting cattle, tracking movement of his herd or assessing weight gains, his biggest conundrum is figuring out how to make an ear tag stay in the cow’s ear. […] Read more

Farmers who take images with a camera on a drone can use the Field-Edge Plant Population Analysis program to produce maps that pinpoint problem areas.  |  Sentera photo

Field edge analysis platform delivers the news fast

Sentera’s new software allows growers to send their drones out 
to gather photos, determine trouble spots and take action quickly

Farmers who access early warning data on poor emergence have the opportunity to spray out or rip up those tardy acres for replanting or go in with remedial nutrition to rescue them. The key is to know as soon as possible after emergence if you need to take such action. One week too late can […] Read more

Alberta Agriculture weed researcher Chris Neeser is learning how to use drone technology to scout for weeds and disease.  |  File photo

Drones spit out facts, not answers

LACOMBE, Alta. — Chris Neeser has been studying drones for Alberta Agriculture since 2014 to gauge the usefulness of current technology in agricultural applications. “We examined the usefulness of imagery from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for the purpose of weed and disease forecasting, and hopefully the process might answer some of the questions in case […] Read more

Matthew Johnson from M3 Aerial Productions in Manitoba says the producers need to treat the purchase decision like any other machinery choice. They must ask themselves how many acres and how fast.  |  M3 photo

VIDEO: Drones get civilized for agriculture

As drones become more affordable and flyable, an increasing number of growers are kicking the propellers as they try to figure out how to implement this emerging technology on their farms. The sky’s the limit in terms of the possible agricultural applications, but there is a limit to the amount of time and money farmers […] Read more

Felix Weber checks his drone prior to launch. |  Michael Raine photo

Preflight checklists make flights safe and data sound

When farmers are preparing drones for the season’s reconnaissance, there are vital preparations and decisions that must first be addressed. Producers should have a checklist of things to look at before launching their drones. First, says Felix Weber, operators must check to see whether they have the right approvals. “The law has changed as of […] Read more