Drones for Grazing Management

Dr. John Walker of Texas A&M AgriLife has been experimenting with drones as a grazing management tool. He's used drones to check fences, move livestock, and to search for missing animals. He can even imagine having a grazing plan where you use the drone to herd animals from pasture to pasture. This 2:44 minute video gives you a good "Drone's-Eye-View of moving animals, and Walker describes some of the challenges and the future uses he sees for drones. https://youtu.be/soGdG35K6Lo Walker's vision of ranching with drones could mean less time and fuel spent on daily chores. He says, "I think the off-the-shelf models could probably do some practical time-saving things for people, particularly if you’ve got a rough old ranch with two-track roads that take forever to get around on to check water. You could go up to the top of a hill and if you’ve gone to that trough before, you can fly that drone about 40 miles an hour and it doesn’t take it long to go a mile and check that trough. You can see what that trough looks like through the drone’s camera lens without worrying or spending half a day to get there and back. Limitations Walker has noted include short battery life limiting flight time to about 25 minutes. Obstacles like trees and brush can pose problems as well, but as you see in the video, with a little practice he figured out how to use the drone to move livestock on brushy terrain. Alternatively you can look for a model that is designed to avoid tree

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