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UAVs and Achieving a balanced Technological Scale

Posts: 30
Location: Kingston, TN
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Hey Grant,

I had a few questions for you. Have you looking into UAVs on your farm? If so, is there a brand or anything you see as important to look out for? I see them as being useful both in planning and for observation.

My next question has to do with balancing technology with the scale of a farm and practicing the observe and nudge principle. Is there a break even point in terms of property size or income level that you find necessary when adapting ground breaking or expensive appropriate technologies? How would you recommend one go about utilizing both the power of technology and the power of their human observation?

Take care & keep up the good work!
Posts: 219
Location: Iowa City, Iowa Zone 5
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Played around with a friend's quadcopter UAV. I like the idea of collaborative consumption - don't buy any expensive equipment when you can rent, borrow, or co-operatively purchase it.

Satellite imagery from USDA is so darn good, I haven't found a real need for UAVs here other than making flyover videos (radical, dude!). Cool to see, but no real practical farm planning purpose that I can't already access more reliably and FREE elsewhere.

GPS Keyline is another applicable example. Via collaborative consumption, I can rent or hire a GPS survey for ~$10-20/acre. Pro-level equipment to do this would cost $60,000+ to purchase. Why buy when you only need to use something once? I subcontracted a GPS topo survey of my entire 145-acre farm for $1,800. This map is good forever, and allows me to design roads, ponds, swales, and Keyline with precision accuracy. It also allows the option of hiring GPS or laser guided excavation equipment for a lesser cost than a conventional operator, with faster installation, and no errors.

If you want to learn more about GPS Keyline Design, we'd love to see you in August.
Posts: 3375
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Google maps bought the USDA maps for my area. They are SCARY detailed--I can see my keyline rips in the latest version. I can see all my sheep in the pasture. You could count the number of haybales I had left in the field last time--little square bales!

They do not give you contour, but are an incredibly useful tool if you save them to compare over time.
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