Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

Attack of the drones?

Attack of the drones?

 

The word “drone” tends to conjure up images of planes that kill terrorists or of creepy surveillance tools.

But tiny drone airplanes made of foam may be more useful in rural environments, one researcher says. There, the fliers could revolutionize agriculture, reducing the need for pesticides and improving crop production.

Because drones can fly cheaply at a low altitude, they can get highly detailed images of cropland, said Chris Anderson, the CEO of 3D Robotics and former editor-in-chief of Wired, here on Saturday (May 18) at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, a two-day celebration of DIY science, technology and engineering. Drone-captured close-ups of fields could help farmers tailor their pesticide treatment and identify subtle differences in soil productivity. [Rise of the Drones: Photos of Unmanned Aircraft]

Vast unknown

The automation of farming has led to fewer farmers tending massive plots of land. That means they don’t know how each leaf looks, notice changes in the height of plants, or the color of soil

“Once upon a time farms were small and people could walk the farm,” Anderson said. Now, however, “farms are too big to measure and too big to manage.”

As a result, farmers may not know about the condition of vast stretches of their land and make many decisions as if plots of land were uniform. For instance, they may blanket their entire crop with fungicide in June because fungal infections typically strike in July, whether or not their crop is actually afflicted, Anderson said.

 

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The Bordeaux government is launching a new initiative to match young winemakers looking to buy their first estate with properties owned by older winemakers approaching retirement.

Delaplane Cellars-8

 

The plans come from the French national land agency, SAFER, together with the Ministry of Agriculture in the Gironde: the idea is to help the estimated 1,000 vineyard owners who are over 55 and do not have a succession plan in place.

Many are forced into working longer, or are obliged to sell their estates to neighbours who then integrate the vines into their own chateaux, thus losing historic names.

Bernard Artigue, president of Ministry of Agriculture, and Francis Massé, president of SAFER Aquitaine, signed an agreement at wine trade fair Vinitech… read on