During Becknology Days over the weekend, Jim Love, Light Robotics Manager for Beck’s, was showing off his collection of drones and, more importantly, the data and applications that they could glean from them.
“We try to evaluate all things that are drone and help farmers make purchase decisions that make sense. So, for some of our guys, that may be a little $600 drone and others maybe a $20,000 data gathering drone, but we try to evaluate what guys are wanting to do and help them make a buying decision that makes sense for them.”
Drones have advanced well past just data gathering in recent years. Drone sprayers have progressed much faster than many anticipated. While some farmers believe drones are the future, Love believes the future is now with drones.
“These field days are just at the right time when guys have either paid their spray bill or they’ve been frustrated about waiting on a spray plane. So, it’s always a very hot topic this time of year with spray drones because of all the fungicide applications due to the success of fungicides as well as the high commodity prices, guys are putting a lot of fungicide on which is really straining the conventional aerial application group. And so, spray drones have really taken off.”
Love admits that’s a bad pun, but it doesn’t change the fact that, “it’s turning out to be a good alternative to a $1 million high clearance ground machine or waiting on an aerial applicator to try to get to you.”
Love says drones have helped Beck’s provide many benefits to their customers, including increasing the level of their customer service when farmers are having issues in their fields.
“It helps our customers help us help them, which is kind of a goofy word salad there, but if a customer can fly a field and get that aerial view, a lot of times he’s not the only guy with that problem. So, if he can send that photograph that he took with his drone to one of our agronomists, oftentimes our agronomists have seen that problem, especially in a locale, you can say, ‘Hey, I think it’s this,’ and it helps them get to the answer faster.”
And while faster doesn’t always mean you’re going to be able to do something about it this year, getting that answer as quickly as possible does bring some peace of mind.
Hear more with Love in the full interview below.