Agriculture Drone: Reviews & Buying Guide [2021]

Drones have been changing the way we do things since they were introduced to the consumer market.

From photography to agriculture, drones have been making things easier

The agriculture industry has embraced drone technology and is taking advantage of all that it offers.

Commercial agriculture requires a long-term commitment and a wide range of important processes.

Drones for farming help to simplify some of these processes and make them easier, safer and more efficient than manual labor.

Agriculture drones are equipped with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities to offer farmers new ways to monitor crop health, check storm damage among other things.

If you’d like to know more about how an agriculture drone can benefit farmers, keep reading. 

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Agras MG-1 Agriculture Spraying Drone with Battery...
  • Control range:1000 meters
  • Flight time: 24 min (12.5 kg takeoff weight) 10 min  22.5 kg takeoff weight)
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds(without battery)
Parrot DISCO-PRO AG Without Sequoia
  • Control range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds
Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone Camera, Portable Folding...
  • Control range: 5.5 miles
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced - Compact Commercial Drone...
  • Control range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 3 pounds
DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone, Hobby RC Quadcopter &...
  • Control range: 4.3 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

Agriculture drone reviews

DJI Agras MG-1 Agriculture Spraying Drone with Battery...
  • Control range:1000 meters
  • Flight time: 24 min (12.5 kg takeoff weight) 10 min  22.5 kg takeoff weight)
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds(without battery)

The DJI Agras MG-1 Agriculture drone remains one of the best spraying drones on the market.

It is designed to effortlessly spray around 4000-600 square feet in around 10 minutes.

For larger farms, the Agras MG-1 can be used in cycles until the entire area is covered.

This RTF drone comes with minimal assembly and training so you can be up and spraying your crops in no time.

The eight motor propulsion system can carry 10kgs of a chemical solution.

It can cover 7-10 acres of land in less than an hour which is way faster than spraying manually.

This drone flies about 8 meters per second and the automatic adjustment features check the flow according to the current flight and environmental conditions.

This ensures that there is a consistent spray and that all crops are sprayed evenly and effectively.

There are three flight modes; Smart Mode, Manual Plus Mode and Full Manual Mode.

Each mode gives you specific control over the task at hand.

It is recommended that beginners start out with the Smart Mode since this requires very little effort on their part.

You can move on to the other modes after you have familiarized yourself with the craft after some time.

The DJI Agras MG1 is corrosion, dust and water-resistant.

It can be folded down for safe and easy transport and storage making it one of the best units for agriculture.


Parrot DISCO-PRO AG Without Sequoia
  • Control range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds

The Parrot Disco-Pro AG combined with the Parrot  Sequoia Multi-Spectral Sensor makes for a powerful unit to help farmers maintain, evaluate and secure their crops.

The Parrot  Sequoia Multi-Spectral Sensor analyzes a plant’s vitality by capturing the amount of light a plant absorbs and reflects.

The Sequoia captures RBG photos and the light that plants reflect in 4 separate bands when facing downwards.

These include green and red as well as 2 infrared bands invisible to the human eye.

When facing upwards, the Sequoia records the intensity of light from the sun so farmers can perform radiometric calibrations for consistent data measurement.

This drone also makes use of Pix4Dcapture and AIRINOV First + to capture and analyze crop data.

Pix4D capture App is a user-friendly flight planning app that can create automatic and optimized flight plans to map a defined area.

AIRINOV First + is an agricultural cloud mapping platform that can process the captured crop data into practical solutions.

Apart from its powerful analytical tools, this drone is easy to fly, reliable and safe.

It makes use of a powerful motor and a high-capacity battery that gives you 30 minutes in the air.

The included long-range Skycontroller 2 transmitter gives you a range of out to 1.2 miles.

In the end, the Parrot Disco-Pro AG is an all-in-one drone solution for precision agriculture farmers who are looking to improve the ROI of their crops.

Parrot DISCO-PRO AG Without Sequoia
  • IMPORTANT: "PARROT DISCO- PRO AG WITHOUT SEQUOIA DOESN'T CONTAIN SEQUOIA IN THE PACKAGE." The...
  • The fixed-wing drone solution has a powerful motor and a high capacity battery which covers up to...
  • Parrot Skycontroller 2 ensures an optimized and secure Wi-Fi connection, and live video streaming on...

Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone Camera, Portable Folding...
  • Control range: 5.5 miles
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds

The Autel Robotic Evo II 8K drone is the best aerial imaging drone on the market currently.

It can be used to inspect and analyze crops with aerial imaging.

This can help farmers with all the information needed to make more insightful data-driven decisions.

It is also equipped with flight planning software that allows farmers to map around the areas that need to be covered.

The software automatically maps the flight path and can even prepare it for camera shots.

The drone will automatically take pictures using the built-in sensors, onboard camera and GPS to determine when to take a picture.

When a drone captures several images of a site with a certain degree of overlap, it can stitch them together to form a larger highly detailed image.

This larger stitched together image is known as an orthophoto.

Orthophotos allow you to make accurate measurements, create elevation models and textured 3D models on them.

Orthophotos can be used to measure true distances since it is an accurate representation of the Earth’s surface, unlike uncorrected aerial imagery.

The Autel Robotics EVO II comes with several sensors and intelligent flight modes for autonomous flight routes and obstacle avoidance.

This makes it easy to survey crops from above without worrying about crashes and doing too much.

Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone Camera, Portable Folding...
  • 40 MINUTES OF STABLE FLIGHT TIME: From inspecting electrical cell towers to surveying property...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FOLDABLE DESIGN: Deployed in under 30 seconds, the 2.5lb EVO II is ideal for rapid...
  • PATENTED LOCKING PROPELLER DESIGN: No tools required, quick release foldable propellers for the EVO...
  • INTERCHANGEABLE PAYLOADS: Designed for versatile operations, pilots can alternate between the 8K,...
  • LIVE CONTROLLER VIDEO FEED: Control almost all aspects of your mission right off the 3.3 inch OLED...

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced - Compact Commercial Drone...
  • Control range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 3 pounds

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is a versatile drone designed to carry out inspections, search and rescue operations among others.

While it’s not marketed as an agriculture drone, it still works in this industry.

This is because of the radiometric thermal camera and a 48MP RGB sensor.

These help you gather more accurate data.

You can switch seamlessly between visual, thermal or split-view feeds.

The visual camera captures high-resolution highly detailed photos so nothing goes unnoticed.

The thermal camera allows you to identify hotspots which can make it easier to measure plant and land change due to changes in the temperature over a certain period.

It also makes it easy to detect water presence and crop damage during drought and any other seasonal changes as well.

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced comes with a powerful 32x zoom feature that allows you to hover at a safe distance

You also have the option to plan automated inspection missions with RTK precision.

However, you’ll need to purchase the RTK module separately.

The Real-Time Kinematic(RTK) is a satellite positioning technique that uses both GPS and land-based signals to allow for accurate operations even in harsh conditions.

You can create up to 240 waypoints to perform automated inspections.

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is great if you have a medium to large size farm.

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced - Compact Commercial Drone...
  • See the Unseen - Fly above and instantly detect hotspots with a 640 × 512 px Thermal Camera. See...
  • High Resolution - Capture crisp images of your targets with a 48MP Visual Camera so that no detail...
  • Zoom from Afar - Hover at a safe distance and spot fine details with 32× Digital Zoom.
  • Automated Inspection Missions - Plan and execute inspections with centimeter-level RTK precision*....
  • Dual Vision - Tap to seamlessly switch between visual, thermal, or split-view feeds.
  • DJI Care Enterprise Basic is included. Up to two replacements at a low price can be offered within...

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone, Hobby RC Quadcopter &...
  • Control range: 4.3 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

If you already own a Phantom 4 Pro drone, you can add the Sentera NDVI upgrade and transform it into a crop scouting drone.

The upgrade makes use of a 1.2 NIR global shutter camera that works alongside the existing camera of your Phantom 4 Pro.

It gives you the best of both worlds with NIR photos for Normalized Difference Vegetation Index(NDVI) and a gimbal color camera for scouting.

The NDVI sensor features a global shutter that delivers distortion-free near-infrared(NIR) images.

These can then be used to produce Normalized Difference Red Edge crop health maps as well as NDVI.

This provides farmers with precise and affordable solutions to determine the health and vibrancy of crops.

The upgrade comes with a free version of Sentera’s AGVault image processing software.

However, you need to know two things before you purchase this upgrade kit.

The first is that you will have to ship your Phantom 4 Pro to Sentera to perform the upgrade.

The second is that attaching the second camera to your Phantom 4 Pro voids your warranty with DJI.

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone, Hobby RC Quadcopter &...
  • Camera with 1-inch 20MP sensor the onboard camera has been redesigned to use a 1-inch Megapixel CMOS...
  • Five-directions of obstacle sensing. Please refer the Instructional Video and the User Manual before...
  • More powerful video processing supports H.264 4K videos at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a...
  • Note: Refer the Instructional Video and the User Manual before use which is highly recommended.
  • Max Flight Time Approx. 30 minutes

Factors to consider when buying a drone for agriculture

drones for farming fields

Purchasing a drone for agriculture is tough.

The market offers a wide variety each tailored to specific functions.

Choosing one without testing can be risky since you are going to pay a hefty sum.

You should consider units that best meet your needs and are equipped with the latest technologies.

Here’s a detailed buying guide to help make this process a bit easier.

Type of drone

Figure out if you need a fixed-wing drone or multi-rotor drone.

Some farmers prefer fixed-wing drones because they cover a larger area and may offer longer flight times.

It is recommended to go for a fixed-wing drone if you have a large open farm that needs to be surveyed.

They can capture more information in a single flight and significantly reduce the time it takes to collect data from acres of farmland.

Multi-rotor drones, on the other hand, are best suited for precision farming. 

These are the units you need if you want to precisely observe small farms, create 3-D scanning of your crops and other objects out on the fields.

They are easy to fly and are cheaper than some fixed-wing drones.

However, the flight time on these units is less than fixed-wing drones.

If you have to cover a larger area, you’ll have to do it in shifts.

Stick with a drone that fits your needs best.

Image Processing

You want your drone to capture the best video/photo it can. 

Choose a drone with no less than 4K video offerings and 12MP photos.

The camera should also have a wide view lens and a fisheye lens.

This will allow you to capture a larger area in a single shot.

A drone with a good quality high-resolution camera will process an image so perfectly that all image distortion will be eliminated.

You can also opt to purchase a separate imaging sensor or a multi-spectral imaging sensor to mount on some drones.

Multi-spectral sensors allow you to see things a bit more clearly.

They are great for when you need to check crops or the ground when it’s wet

This can help you see how well or not your irrigation system is working.

Some of the best image processing lenses are those that capture visual band, near-infrared band and NDVI band in a single flight.

These sensors can also be paired with hotspots that can help you measure plant and land change with temperatures over time. 

You’ll also be able to detect water presence and crop damage during drought and other seasonal changes.

Software

Software is another crucial component to look for in an agriculture drone.

You need software to analyze the data that has been collected.

Software programs can provide maps, combine images, provide 3D mapping, measure vegetative indexes among others. 

Some drones come with the software needed while you may have to purchase software to use with some drones.

Software prices vary and it all depends on the data you need to be processed.

You can choose to go with monthly software subscriptions or a one-time package.

Price

It should come as no surprise that these drones are going to cost more than consumer drones.

These are advanced data-gathering units for commercial use and therefore, pricier.

The more accessories you add to the drone, the more expensive it becomes.

That is why it is recommended to choose a drone that best meets your needs.

Pay attention to how large your farm is, the type of crops you grow and the output you expect.

This way you won’t have to buy too many additional accessories and your initial investment will serve you well.

Advantages of Drones over other aerial imaging systems

drone farmer flying drone

Cheaper imaging

Drones are far less expensive than satellites or manned aircraft surveillance.

This is especially true if you have a farm less than 50 hectares in size.

Better Precision

You get better precision since drone cameras take centimeter-level images.

These reveal a lot more details about the condition of crops.

Early detection of issues

A drone farm meaning a farm that uses drones can perform more frequent surveying to detect weeds, pests and other issues in your fields.

100% field scouting

A drone can scout 100% of your field in a short time.

If you have to do this manually, it’ll take much longer.

3D/Volumetric data

Drone images give farmers all the details they need.

They can use these images to calculate the volume of piles, holes, hills and patches.

These can then be compared to infrared images to detect density issues like hotspots.

Frequent Index reporting

Drones are a cost-effective way to monitor crops regularly for key indices like NDVI, canopy chlorophyll content index (CCCI) and crop water stress index (CWSI).

FAQs: UAV agriculture models

What are the most common types of drones used in agriculture?

Drones used for agriculture are usually fixed-wing drones or multi-rotor drones.

The type used heavily depends on the size of the farm.

Fixed wings cover large areas and multi-rotors are used to cover smaller farms.

Why use drones in agriculture?

Drones offer several advantages.

These include addressing crop yield issues, land changes, temperature changes and plant growth among others.

A drone farmer can identify problems sooner and even help him come with suitable solutions.

This can help increase crop yield, help him to adapt to climate changes and help reduce pollution as well.

Where are agriculture drones used?

Agriculture drones are used in a wide range of situations.

They may be used for soil analysis, field analysis, planting seeds, spraying crops, spot spraying, crop mapping, surveying, irrigation and livestock monitoring, etc.

Conclusion

Drones are making strides in the agriculture sector.

They are making life easier for farmers.

Agriculture drones are portable and offer a cost-effective way to optimize agriculture operations, increase crop production, and monitor crop growth.

However, drones in agriculture are still in their infancy stage.

Look out for bigger and better changes in the industry in the next few years.

Check out drones in other industries by reading our best drone for real estate photography and commercial drones posts.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Agras MG-1 Agriculture Spraying Drone with Battery...
  • Control range:1000 meters
  • Flight time: 24 min (12.5 kg takeoff weight) 10 min  22.5 kg takeoff weight)
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds(without battery)
Parrot DISCO-PRO AG Without Sequoia
  • Control range: 1.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds
Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone Camera, Portable Folding...
  • Control range: 5.5 miles
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Weight: 8 pounds
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced - Compact Commercial Drone...
  • Control range: 6.2 miles
  • Flight Time: 31 minutes
  • Weight: 3 pounds
DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone, Hobby RC Quadcopter &...
  • Control range: 4.3 miles
  • Flight Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

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