By Cole Parkinson
Local farmers who are interested in advancing technologies to help with their farms have an event to look forward to in the coming days.
The Landview Drone School is making its way to the M.D. of Taber on Nov. 20-21 for a two day session to allow farmers the opportunity to learn about drones and the benefits they can provide to their daily routines.
“We teach them how to use a drone effectively on their farm, it’s for complete beginners. So if they have never flown a drone before, we teach them basic flights and flight operations. We also teach them how to create maps, how to do crop health maps for example and the different types of imagers. I have a second instructor along who teaches all of the regulatory elements, so where you can fly legally and how you need to stay away from airports, all the details of legal flight,” said Markus Weber, president of Landview. “It’s two full days, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days and we do a little bit of each both days. We teach them agricultural components and then the UAV ground school.”
The advance in drone technology has made it easier to access them as well as use them more efficiently in a farm setting.
Weber says that up until a few years ago, drones weren’t equipped well enough to be used by farmers.
“I worked with an ag consultant and we were doing a lot of service rights work. The optic imagery just wasn’t good enough for what we needed and drones at the time were being used primarily for mapping. So we got into it because of that and then I saw a gap in that most of the drones weren’t flying long enough at the time to be effectively used on farms. I started selling a fixed wing aircraft that would do 35 minutes of flight time and quarter section maps opposed to the equipment back then that was doing 40 or 50 acres.”
On top of the school, Landview also sells drones that can help with many different things around a farm.
One of the biggest things their drones are equipped with could potentially be a game changer for many farmers in the area.
“Most of what we sell now actually uses near infrared light or some kind of a multi spectral system. And what that does is use light that we can’t see with the human eye but plants reflect it differently if they’re healthy or unhealthy. So you can use it to generate maps of crops stress, crop health, wheat densities, all these kinds of things. It gives insight into your crop and what’s growing well and not so well,” said Weber.
While technology has progressed incredibly quick, there doesn’t seem to be much of a slow down moving forward.
Weber expects drones to be serving even more purposes in the next few years which will make them even more valuable.
“The imaging systems will improve so rather than showing crop health, we’ll have diagnostics that will show exactly what wheat you have where and which disease is starting where through very diagnostic sensors. We will also be using it for distribution of product, there will be frame drones, fertilizing drones, seeding and cover crops for example is already happening now. I think we will see more of that in the coming years.”
As for the upcoming drone school in Taber, Weber has seen some interest but he expects to see more closer to the date.
“At this point we have six people registered but we will take up to 30. We keep it to 30 so that there is enough instructors per student and people don’t get bored,” said Weber.
School sessions will take place at the Taber Legion Hall located at 5205 48 Ave from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 20-21 and the deadline to register is Nov. 17.
Lunch will be provided and upon completion of the two days, attendees will be taking a training drone home.
To register you can visit http://www.landviewdrones.com/school or call Markus Weber at 780-448-7445.