The future of drone technology and its potential uses in Central Texas Blacklands farming operations were featured at the Stiles Farm Field Day held in Thrall, Texas.

The field day, conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research, showcased the latest in technological advancements in field crop production.

Dr. Alex Thomasson, AgriLife Research engineer in College Station, led a demonstration in a cotton field showing how the technology can be used to manage cotton root rot, a fungal disease leading to crop loss if left untreated. Dr. Dale Cope, associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University, was joined by undergraduate students in leading the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, demonstration.

The group demonstrated how to launch the autonomous aircraft, fly several circle patterns over the cotton field to take digital images and make a proper landing.

“If you take the pictures from the UAV, you can find exactly where the cotton root rot problem is in the field,” Thomasson said. “Treatment cost is about $50 an acre, so instead of having to treat a whole field, you can pinpoint the exact location you need to treat the field for some economic savings.”

Retrieved from: Texas AgriLife Extension