In Minnesota, Land O’ Lakes, Inc. launched the Land O’Lakes Prize: Drone Challenge, a crowdsourcing competition to develop proposed solutions that enable scalable, autonomous drone usage in precision agriculture. Innovators have until Aug. 1, 2017 to enter to win the $140,000 grand prize.
“Drones don’t offer a good return on investment for farmers today,” said Mike Vande Logt, EVP and COO for WinField United. “A farmer has to get to the field, launch the drone, take the pictures, pack up, download the data, stitch the images together, then figure out what the images are telling him…it’s time consuming and the applications are difficult to use.”
The expected drone hardware and software solutions will solve critical issues for farmers, such as limiting human involvement in field data collection, decreasing the time needed to access crop imagery and improving the ability for a farmer to make decisions based on field health data.