THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY IN FARMING
Based in Auckland and Christchurch, our team at DJI Ferntech is driven by a desire to help New Zealand farmers achieve what was once out of reach. We believe uniting technology and New Zealand's largest sector creates unlimited possibilities and will only advance the industry for the better.
Experts agree that drones will revolutionise the agricultural market in New Zealand. Our geography makes drones particularly relevant. Many New Zealand farms have large varieties of terrain that make transit and management a logistical challenge. Drones take the farmer into the sky, and away from having to navigate the difficult terrain.
As the world's leader in easy-to-fly drones and aerial cameras, DJI drones are the best fit for New Zealand farmers. Our drones allow farmers to utilise technology for those jobs that are dangerous, dirty or just plain dull. Farmers from all over the world are now using DJI drones like the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Series and Agras MG Series to manage and assess stock, survey and map land, spray crops, and comply with strict health and safety regulations.
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UTILISING DRONES In Agriculture
The most common purpose for agricultural drones in New Zealand is stock management. Stock farmers typically use them to perform checks on the farm (e.g. water levels, fences, gates, animal health). Drones can also be used with siren attachment to swiftly herd stock - sheep, deer and cattle all respond just the same as they would with bikes and dogs. Many of our customers use them to bring cows in the milking. Lastly, they make finding stock - from sheep stuck in deep gullies to deer for hunting - a breeze.
"The other day we had the drone fly over this mob of sheep and straight away we could see there was this one sheep that hadn't moved with the mob," Mrs Wyeth said, "So the drone buzzed down a bit closer and we found it was cast which means it was pregnant and stuck on its back. You don't want a sheep left like that for long, they die pretty quickly. So straight away our little son was on his bike, straight over there, and he flipped up the ewe. That's $400 saved in less than four minutes."
Surveying & Mapping
We are increasingly seeing drones used for surveying and mapping of farms. Even simple consumer DJI drones can be used for 2D and 3D mapping applications. Partnered with software and sensors, drones like the Phantom 4 series can be used to measure pasture growth and health. Farmers can even mount specialised camera systems that measure photosynthesis to give crop farmers (particularly fruit tree farmers) an early heads up as to any signs of disease.
In an article from Rural News, farmer Nick Hoogeveen utilises a Phantom 4 alongside software from DroneDeploy, to autonomously run a grid over his farm, taking a series of vertical photographs that are then automatically stitched into a single map.
“To survey one of my farms, which is about 238ha, takes me roughly 40 minutes with three battery changes. So that gives me a snapshot in time of what my farm is like at that point" says Hoogeveen. "Over the winter we were using it to do a survey of the run-off block then we could draw on it with GPS precision where the crops had been grazed so we can see what area of crop we have left and how much we had used in the previous week.”
Spraying & Crop Health
By attaching multispectral NDVI cameras such as the MicaSense RedEdge to a DJI Phantom, Matrice or Inspire drone, farmers are able to monitor crop health with an incredible level of detail. NDVI cameras records what the naked eye cannot see — a spectral analysis of plant life. When the images are stitched together the farmer benefits from an entire field of data. This data can be used for identifying areas of crops that need attention, detecting diseases and damage from pests, prescribing spraying or fertilisation plans, and creating an overview of the condition of the crops.
At the top end of the scale, DJI drones like the Agras Series are now able to be used for crop spraying. They can be effective as they actively track terrain and ensure no wastage of spray. Running costs are minimal compared to conventional, diesel powered equipment or helicopters.
Health & Safety
Health and safety is increasingly becoming an issue that New Zealand farmers are having to address.
The introduction of drones means that farmers can be more cautious about adhering to health and safety regulations. From assessing the top of the shed roof to checking fences in dangerous gullies, farmers can utilise easy-to-fly and inexpensive drone technology to assure safety of themselves and their workers on those potentially dangerous jobs.
Dairy farmer and customer Brad Kilgour from Reporoa uses his DJI Phantom to check stock, move cows and map his farm from above.
"We use the DJI Phantom on our dairy farm to carry out stock surveillance especially around calving time. We can fly up to our springer mob and see if there are any cows needing assistance, in no time at all.
"The greatest benefit of the Phantom is getting in the cows to milk in the afternoon. When they start walking to the shed around 2.30, I fly back over them to check every cow has left the paddock, saving around 30mins a day following behind them on a motor bike.
"I have also Aerial mapped our property, which has given us a highly detailed interactive map, where i can accurately measure areas and distances. This comes in handy when ordering seed for crops or sprays, etc, saving us time and money."
Customer Jason Reutoul says since bringing drone technology on-farm, herding his livestock has become much less arduous. He utilises a Phantom 4 Pro to herd deer, sheep and cattle.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand, Jason says "Being a hilly farm where a lot of stuff is done on foot, the drones really saved a lot of man hours... The drone does the higher bits that you can't see from the ground. Not only is it good for deer, we move cows and calves at foot. Where normally they would just want to fight the dogs... they'll move fine for a drone and just trot along". See some of Jason's edited footage below:
RECOMMENDED DRONES FOR FARMERS
This entry-level professional drone is perfect for farmers wanting to manage and stock stock and quickly survey the farm from above. It's tough frame is ideal for harder terrain, and it's long flight time makes assessing large areas of land simple. The Phantom series allow for a siren attachment to swiftly shift stock. It's easy-to-fly remote controller with built-in screen, as well as its ability to catch-land, makes the Phantom 4 Advanced a versatile and accessible drone for agriculture.
The DJI Mavic Pro is a small yet powerful drone that is perfect for a first-time drone user. Its portable, compact size hides a high degree of complexity that makes it one of DJI’s most sophisticated flying systems ever. It's 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 7km range, 5 vision sensors, and 4K camera stabilised by a 3-axis mechanical gimbal may sound impressive, but the easy-to-fly technology makes it incredibly simple for farmers of any ages to navigate.
The DJI Agras MG-1 is an octocopter designed for precision variable rate application of liquid pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides, bringing new levels of efficiency and manageability to the agricultural sector. The powerful propulsion system enables the MG-1 to carry up to 10kg of liquid payloads, including pesticide and fertiliser. An area of 4,000-6,000 m² can be covered in just 10 minutes, or 40 to 60 times faster than manual spraying operations. It has a very long flight time of 20 minutes with a fast turn-around for refills.
The DJI Matrice 200 Series were engineered to unlock the potential of commercial drones. With an innovative design, the M200 Series is both rugged and versatile, making it the perfect tool for farmers. High-performance motors paired with 17-inch propellers ensure stable flight in strong winds and it has the ability to fly in the rain. It has a longer flight than the small drones, and can be navigated with higher accuracy. A siren can be attached for shifting stock swiftly. The body holds a greater payload for the addition of sensors for multi-spectral data capture ensuring it will be useful for years to come.
Get IN TOUCH
Our expert team can help you find the right drone for your farm's needs.
Visit: DJI Authorised Retail Store, 96 New North Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland
Call: 0800 787 623 or 09 216 5386