Milo Yield: Some alternative uses for drones could make farmers lives easier and connect with consumers
March 15, 2016
I'm not much of a waterfowl hunter because I'm not really fond of eating duck and goose. Plus, the weather is usually too cold and waterfowl hunters get up and going long before the crack of dawn. That's not my recipe for fun hunting, nor good eating.
But, I'm glad there are goose hunting aficionados, because a couple of week's ago, some young fellers with a goose hunting guide service stopped and asked if they could bring some of their clients to hunt geese on my four-acre pond.
After they described the terms of the hunt and my compensation, I said, "Sure. Help yourself."
Well, they've been here hunting three times and will come again this weekend to wrap up the goose season. So, far they've brought some really friendly fellow hunters from Texas, Arkansas and the Wichita area.
And, they've been successful every hunt. I'd guess they've harvested around 60 Canadian geese to date and as far as I'm concerned, it's good riddance to avian vermin. The overwintering Canadian goose population is a nuisance and the critters do a lot of damage to the wheat fields around here. Plus, they poop so much in some of the ponds I fish in spring and summer that their excrement causes an unhealthy algae bloom in the water for the fish.
I figure those guest hunters are helping pay for what it cost to buy my new bird dog puppy, Mandy.
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The media is filled with stories about drones. Those unmanned flying vehicles are being used for a plethora of uses inside and outside of agriculture. Some companies are using them to deliver packages and some unscrupulous individuals are using them to spy on their unsuspecting sunbathing neighbors.
In agriculture, they're using drones to map fields, monitor crop health, monitor soil moisture, count cattle and more.
I actually think the "Drone Era" is fraught with hidden dangers which I won't get into. But, since drones probably aren't going away, I've thought of some novel ways they might be useful.
For instance, I need a programmable drone to identify chicken hawks in the air around my chicken flock and drive the predators away from Damphewmore Acres.
And, how about the cattle industry using drones to do it's own census of the cattle population to counteract the government numbers? I'd bet there'd be quite a discrepancy in the numbers — and that, in turn, might positively impact the cattle market.
And, how about dairy families using drones to deliver farm fresh bottles of whole milk to customers to a list of preferred customers? I, for one, wish I knew where I could buy the kind of healthful whole milk I drank in my youth. I'd be willing to pay a premium for "drone-delivered milk."
How about equipping little drones with herbicide sprayers and infrared cameras that could identify nuisance weeds in fields and pastures and then spot spray them for control? That sure would save a lot of herbicide use and manpower.
How about organic gardeners use drones to deliver fresh-from-the-garden veggies to their retail and wholesale customers? Sure would beat a delivery truck.
I'll bet some folks are already using camera-equipped drones to check on the status of fences and water-gaps. Would be handier than riding fence with a horse or an ATV, although I'd bet some die-hards might want to use equine and mechanical horsepower for the job just because they enjoy it.
And, I'll bet that someone, somewhere is developing (or has developed) a "Drone Lawnmower." You could be sure that beer sales would go up in the summer as lazy folks like me sat on their porches with a cold brewski and ran the remote control on the drone to mow their grass. Would work just as well to mow cow pasture pool fairways and greens.
Drones are probably being used to scare nuisance geese from urban fountains, ponds, lakes and parks where they poop all over everything. And, another possibility is using drones at night to scare away the masses of starlings, pigeons and crows that persist in roosting in downtown areas.
Well, I could keep "droning" on about this subject, but it's probably getting boring by now. So, I'll end with this little story that has a moral to it — that you can make money in anger. Here's the story:
The grandmother said to her husband of 50 years, "When I first married, my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was never to argue with your spouse. She told me that if I ever got angry with my husband, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."
That very day her husband discovered a box in their bedroom that contained two crocheted dolls and several thousand dollars. He wuz moved to tears that he'd only angered his wife twice in all their married years.
But, then he asked, "Well, now I know about the dolls, but what about all that money? Where did it come from?"
His long-suffering wife replied sweetly, "Why, dearest, I made that money from selling dolls."
Enuf moralism from me! Have a good 'un. ❖