Drones to be "the next best thing" for Louisiana farmers


By Dannielle Garcia, KATC

Drones aren't just the cool new toy for kids, they are now also being used by farmers.

It's an eye in the sky and some of the latest in farming technology.

The LSU Ag Center has been researching how drones are revolutionizing the agriculture industry, especially in rice crops.

"It will take consulting and scouting fields to the next level," said Jimmy Flanagan, the St. Mary parish county agent with the Ag Center.

Flanagan said there are two types of drones that can be helpful for Louisiana farmers. One is a larger, more expensive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that uses infrared technology to take photos of its "mission."

"Well this one's measuring wave lengths we cannot see with the naked eye, such as infrared. So what it is when the plant gets to unhealthy conditions such as disease or fertility problems you're catching it early on and usually it would be two weeks later that you catch it with the naked eye.

Allen Lawson, a rice farmer in Crowley, said that is just what he needs.

"It's always better to catch it earlier rather than later. The thing with the drones is the infrared photography I mean that's going to come in handy when it finally gets perfected, so we can see the nutrient deficiencies way before they would show up and you can go over the top of the crop and get a bird's eye view," said Lawson.