In Brazil’s state of Mato Grosso, the use of drones in pasture and crop production has become increasingly common, as shown by Mauricio Nicocelli in an article to precisionag.com.
“According to the instructor accredited to the National Rural Apprenticeship Service of Mato Grosso (SENAR-MT), Edson Jabur, use of UAVs creates several opportunities for producers. According to him, drone users can perform regular flights to follow the development of the crop, capturing images and analyzing them chronologically”.
A Drone Technology Development Program for Precision Agriculture was launched in Sao Carlos, Brazil, on June 30, 2016, and it is a collaboration between Qualcomm Wireless Reach, the Brazukuab Agricultural Researcg Corporation (Embrpa) and the Institute of Solidarity Socioeconomics (ISES),
The program aims to demonstrate how drone technologies can be applied to reduce environmental impact and increase crop yields. The on-board systems developed for drones will combine Embrapa’s expertise in agriculture and image processing algorithms with the strong performance of Qualcomm’s drone platform and advanced wireless technologies to collect, process, analyze and transmit real-time crop intelligence to farmers and environmental stakeholders in Brazil.
This is particularly relevant for Brazil because a significant part of its economy is based on agriculture, and the country is a world leading producer and exporter of many crops. A vast majority of the about 4-million farms in Brazil are very small and are known as “family farms.” The family farmer is recognized as a pillar of national development; family farms account for about 70 percent of the country’s staple food production and employ three quarters of farm labor force.
While the use of drones is becoming more popular in agriculture, high cost, including the need for specialized operators and technicians, and access to powerful computers, makes the use of drones inaccessible to most of Brazil’s family farmers. Therefore, the program aims to generate affordable technology solutions for small and medium sized farmers, as well as large industrial agricultural operators.