Drones give new perspective on farming


Livestock farming on Spier is done using high-density rotational grazing practices alongside the vineyards.

JOHANNESBURG - South African farmers are using drones to check crops and track herds of cattle.

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, says: "You can monitor your crops, you can see where your fertiliser is too low or your biomass is too low., irrigation is too low or too high."

Farmers say drones have halved their fuel costs.

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The technology is also being used on the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's research farms.

"We put it on, we tell it to start and we just look as it's flying away, doing its own thing. It flies back to us, it lands, we take the images off the camera,from the drone and we just process it," says publisher and web editor Arie van Ravenswaay.

Considering the size of most farms, it's easier to stay within the legal requirements for flying using drones.

Winde says agricultural jobs won't be threatened by drone usage.

"You need to be able to load those drones, to man them, operate them, and what happens is you actually lift your skills level."