Mark Blanks’ article “Unmanned aircraft: Agricultural applications and challenges” published in Progressive Forage Grower magazine

In recent months, articles on “drones,” properly termed as unmanned aircraft, are popping up in the media everywhere as a “revolutionary” new tool for producers, agronomists, seed distributors and others to use in their daily operations.

The stereotypical view of unmanned aircraft systems as weapons of war in foreign theaters is rapidly evolving into a new image of these systems as civilian tools for facilitating everything from improving yield estimation to locating lost hikers.

However, many in the agricultural community are still skeptical of the true utility of these aircraft in routine operations – and perhaps rightfully so.

One difficulty in explaining the utility of unmanned aircraft is that they can range from the size of a baseball to a commercial airliner.

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