agriculture drone price

In this article, we take a detailed look at what agricultural drones are, how they work, and how they are used. We also compile a list of the best agricultural drones price ranges and the best spraying drones for sale.

Drones are increasingly being used in industrial applications. The agriculture sector is particularly embracing drones to improve efficiency. Despite being one of the more unexpected applications of drone technology, the global agricultural drone market has been forecasted to grow in value from $500.71 million in 2017 to around $4.6 billion in 2025, corresponding to about 32% annual growth. With more brands coming out with specially designed agricultural drones and an increasing awareness of how drones can benefit the agriculture industry, it is reasonable to expect a huge margin of growth for this commercial drone application.

The best agricultural drones available today

The agricultural drone field being a niche market, there are not a lot of options for buyers looking for agricultural drones. We have compiled a list of the best and most popular agricultural drones available in the market today to help you pick the best model for you.

1. DJI Smarter Farming Package

The DJI Smarter Farming Package is a consolidation of some of DJI’s existing drone technology to address the needs of precision agriculture. The package contains a standard DJI M100 drone that is equipped with both a visual sensor and a multispectral sensor. It also comes with a one-year subscription to DataMapper Standard, a software platform that can be used to generate 2D and 3D maps. The software also has a huge library of analysis tools for NDVI and other, more advanced indices. By combining the results of the different analysis tools, farmers can come up with more nuanced and informed decisions.

The package also comes with DataMapper Infield, a desktop and mobile application that lets you define the flight path coverage of the survey and add specific ground control points for model calibration. If you want to see the results of your survey right away, the DataMapper Infield also lets you view real-time results from your mobile device.

The inclusion of the M100 drone allows you to conduct an agricultural survey using one of DJI’s premium professional-grade drones. It comes fully assembled and ready to fly. Being one of DJI’s premiere drones, the M100 has intuitive and easy-to-learn controls and delivers a remarkably stable flight experience. The M100 can run fly up to 35 minutes in a single battery cycle.

2. Sentera NDVI Upgrade for DJI Drones

If you have an existing DJI drone that you want to use to do an agricultural survey, then you may opt to get the NDVI camera upgrade from Sentera. This upgrade is compatible with the Mavic Pro, Phantom series, the Inspire 2, and the M200 series. Basically, the upgrade consists of the installation of an NDVI camera at the bottom of the drone, leaving your stock camera untouched and giving your drone the capability to capture near-infrared images.

The 1.2 MP Sentera NDVI camera holds the distinction for being the smallest and lightest precision agriculture sensor available today. You can rest assured that the flight performance of your drone will hardly be affected by the addition of this sensor. When you purchase this upgrade, Sentera will handle the installation of the sensor in your existing Phantom or Mavic drone. If you own an Inspire drone, the NDVI camera with its stabilizing gimbal can be easily attached into the Inspire’s existing socket.

Purchasing the Sentera NDVI upgrade also gives you 1 year of subscription to the FieldAgent software which you can run from a mobile device or a desktop computer. The FieldAgent software can be used to generate NDVI maps to provide insights on crop health. Advanced data processing capabilities also provide elevation mapping, weed detection, zone mapping, and population analysis.

The Sentera NDVI upgrade may be one of the most affordable means of getting your very own precision agricultural drone, especially if you are already an owner of a professional-grade DJI drone.

Agriculture Drone Price

3. Parrot Bluegrass Fields

Parrot has jumped in the ahead of many mainstream drone brands in the field of agricultural drones by leveraging the strength of their Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor. Their Bluegrass Fields quadcopter provides an end-to-end precision agriculture solution by combining the Parrot Sequoia with a front-facing RGB camera. It is a rugged and easy-to-fly drone that can cover up to 65 hectares in a single battery cycle.

The Parrot Sequoia sensor allows the Bluegrass to capture images in four distinct-mono bands: Red, Green, Red-Edge, and Near-Infrared. With the amount of data captures in each survey run, the Bluegrass delivers a wealth of information in a matter of minutes. The high-resolution camera can achieve a ground sampling distance (GSD) of 11.5 cm per pixel at 122 m altitude, which can be improved to 2.8 cm per pixel at 30 m altitude.

After the multispectral analysis has identified problem areas, you can use the front-facing 14MP camera to take high-quality images for detailed visual inspection. With the ability to capture videos at 1080p resolution, the Bluegrass can even act as a live surveillance drone for identification of easily observed problems such as pests or wild animals.

The Parrot Bluegrass Fields drone package comes with the ParrotFields mobile app, a valuable tool for quick and easy survey planning. While the drone is in flight, the ParrotFields app makes it possible to view in real-time the NDVI map being generated by the data being collected. This allows you to step in at any point during the survey to conduct more detailed surveys on problem areas. You can add text annotations to the data, and even append geotagged photos taken by the drone or from the ground.

After data capture, a detailed analysis can be done using the PIX4DFields drone mapping software. This allows you to produce custom index maps, conduct temporal analysis of crop health behavior, and come up with prescription maps that can be seamlessly integrated with most Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS).

4. Parrot Disco-Pro Ag

The Parrot Disco-Pro Ag is essentially the fixed wing counterpart of the Bluegrass Fields. It is also equipped with Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor for detailed crop analysis. The drone’s dedicated 16 MP RGB camera allows it to capture high-resolution photos and videos for crop surveillance and visual assessment. True to the benefits of being a fixed wing drone, the Disco-Pro Ag can travel up to 80 hectares in a single battery cycle, nearly 4 times longer than the Bluegrass Fields.

Flying the Disco-Pro Ag is not difficult at all. It does not require a long take-off strip, as it can be easily hand launched. An automated landing system also means you do not need excellent landing skills. After you are done collecting crop data, you have the option of shifting the location of the Parrot Sequoia sensor to the top side of the drone. This allows you to collect sunlight intensity data for radiometric calibration of the multispectral data. The correction results in more accurate data, and a more informed prescription model.

The Disco-Pro Ag offers no platform for real-time generation of NDVI maps, but it does come with the cloud-based Airinov First crop analysis platform. Being entirely cloud-based, syncing the crop data to the Airinov and generating NDVI maps can be done almost instantly. The software can also generate other maps, such as a variable-rate application map for fertilizers.

The Disco-Pro Ag contains all the excellent technology that Parrot has on multispectral analysis of crop images and generation of prescription maps. Being a fixed wing drone, it is the recommended model for excessively large farms.

5. senseFly eBee SQ

The eBee SQ is probably one of the best and most expensive agricultural drones that a farmer could use. The senseFly company, being under Parrot, also uses the Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor with the eBee SQ. However, it stands out from the other Parrot agricultural drones with its ability to cover up to 200 hectares in a single battery cycle. This makes it an extremely efficient tool for covering very large farm areas.

The drone package comes with the eMotion Ag, an integrated software platform that has survey planning capabilities while being able to connect to cloud-based solutions to download real-time airspace data and weather updates. It is fully compatible with most FMIS platforms and agricultural machinery, so the gathered data can be integrated into your existing workflow seamlessly.

The use of 5 bands (4 visual, 1 near-IR) of the Parrot Sequoia sensor allows the eBee to gather so much data in just a single flight. The gathered data can be processed using the Pix4DFields software to generate not just NDVI maps, but also digital elevation models, orthomosaics, 3D point clouds, Google Maps files, and prescription maps.

If you want to have a drone that will finish your precision agriculture jobs quickly and efficiently, the senseFly eBee is just the right drone for you. There are few drones that can rival its 110 kph maximum speed and 55-minute maximum flight time.

What does the future hold?

Although drones that conduct multispectral analysis have been a great help for farmers for crop management, we can foresee a future where drones can do so much more. In fact, that future is probably already here with the DJI Agras MG-1, a drone that can carry a 10 kg payload and spray fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides across 7 to 10 acres of farmland per operation. With the ability to easily set the area for it to spray its payload, there is probably no other crop spraying method that can rival the efficiency of the DJI Agras.

Currently, there are no other mainstream drone brands that offer a product like the DJI Agras. It probably won’t be long before competitors show up, though. We are optimistic that future developments can even combine the technology of NDVI analysis with crop spraying drones for a literal on-the-fly crop health analysis that controls the rate at which fertilizers are sprayed.

Aside from the frontier of crop spraying drones, we also anticipate that agricultural drones in the future will be equipped to handle longer flights. Flight range is currently the battlefield where different agricultural drones have been trying to one-up each other, and this is a competition we would like to see continue.

Right now, a major hurdle in the widespread adoption of agricultural drones is the high price. The senseFly eBee costs more than $10,000, while the Sentera upgrade for DJI drones can cost anywhere between $1500 to $5000. We are optimistic that the increasing competition for drone manufacturers in this field will eventually drive the price down to a level that makes the adoption of this technology easier, especially for the developing countries that need it the most.

Types of Drones

Beginner Drones

At the lower end of the drone spectrum are toy drones, like the Parrot Mambo and the Hobbico Dromidia Kodo. These simple and inexpensive drones come in at about $100 and are more focused on fun than features. Their controls are straightforward and easy to learn, and they can be accessed through a smartphone app or included remote control.

The flight times of beginner drones and drones for kids are also more limited – generally less than 10 minutes, or even fewer than five for the very cheap models. Designed to perform some tricks, like midair flips, spare parts are available at fairly low prices if anything goes awry. Some small drones also come with video cameras, though the quality captured tends to be poor. But don’t count them out too soon – getting a cheap drone is a fantastic way to learn to fly before upgrading to a more expensive model. They also won’t cost a fortune to fix or replace in the event of a crash.

Camera Drones

Drones with cameras – like the DJI Mavic Mini, the Parrot Bebop 2, and the GDU Byrd – are specifically designed to capture images, and range in price from $500 to $1,500. Built to provide a steady platform for the lens, which can either be an add-on or built-in, these sophisticated flying machines are more focused on recording high-quality video and still images than performing midair tricks. Because the equipment needed makes them larger and heavier, video drones need to be registered with the FAA.

Video drones often come with gimbals, which is a system designed to pan and tilt the camera – and cushion it from the motors’ vibrations – to cancel out the drone’s motion and keep the lens steady. Gimbals can either come as an electronic system built into the camera, as seen in the Parrot Bebop 2, or as a physical system made of motors and gears, like in the Mavic Air. Either way, the gimbals allow users to direct the camera at whatever angle they like, to capture beautiful pans like those seen in nature documentaries.

Bigger drones need bigger batteries, which often translates to longer flight times. A fully charged battery typically lasts a video drone around 20 minutes, and they can usually be swapped for spares to extend the session. Like toy drones, video drones are also built to be repaired, and replacement parts are generally easily available. Parts are relatively inexpensive as well, with Mavic Air’s replacement rotor blades running about $20. The quality of video these drones capture can vary widely, from the Bebop 2’s decent but sometimes choppy HD video to the Mavic Air’s super-smooth panning shots. While the videos produced by cheaper models like the Bebop 2 will be good enough for most use cases, it’s worth investing in the more sophisticated DJI drones when quality’s the main focus.

From photographing special occasions to surveying construction sites, drones are being used for an ever-expanding range of purposes. In fact, dedicated drone film festivals have popped up in major cities like New York and Berlin to showcase the creative new ways amateur moviemakers are utilizing their flying machines. Not only that, but the more innovative drones – like the Mavic Air – have built-in autonomous flight tech to make journeys on their own. They can even use cameras to detect and avoid obstacles in the way of their flight path. These more advanced drones allow users to play with their device’s autonomy by letting them navigate a predefined course on their own via GPS. Autonomous flight does, however, come with some restrictions – these drones must be registered with the FAA and have to be kept in the pilot’s line of sight at all times. The pilot must also be able to take back control of the drone at any point.

Racing Drones

With the rise of drones came the rise of drone-based competitions – and drone racing might just be the most exciting of all. Racing drones are on the smaller side and designed specifically to offer pilots speed and agility. Users see through their drone’s lens via first-person-view headsets, navigating around a course and trying to beat other fliers. Most racing drones are adapted by hand to shed unnecessary weight or increase motor power. Cheaper models, like the Aerix Black Talon 2.0, start at about $115. Ready-to-fly drones on the higher end of the spectrum, such as the Uvify Draco, can run up to $700.

Drone Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone regulations are the guiding principle behind safe unmanned aircraft flight.

Drones can be an incredibly fun and fruitful new hobby, but they must be flown responsibly. Even a small toy drone can hurt someone if hit by it, and fingers can get injured if caught in the rotor blades. To fight this, some drones have built-in shields to protect the rotors, but even these aren’t foolproof. It’s best to fly any kind of drone, big or small, with proper care and caution. Here’s five quick tips for drone safety:

  • Know the drone. Before the first flight, take the time to read through the instruction manual and get familiar with the controls.
  • Check the drone before flight, looking for any damage to the motors or rotors that could fail in the air.
  • Never fly near people or animals.
  • Fly with caution, particularly when first using a drone or taking a new one for a spin. Always be sure to land before the drone’s battery runs outs.
  • Fly with care. Drones can be noisy, annoying and even scary to those near their flight path. If someone asks to stop flying, be reasonable and courteous.

To learn more about drone safety, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is a fantastic resource on all things drone. The AMA can help connect drone enthusiasts with others in the area to share both beginner’s flying techniques, and more advanced tips and tricks. Remote-control flying clubs often meet regularly to discuss and fly drones together. But remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Make sure to update all software and firmware before any takeoff, and read the drone’s manual thoroughly before use. For FAA registration requirements and further information on drone safety, check the FAA website. Additional local jurisdiction requirements may apply, so it’s important to stay informed on the latest drone regulations for the area.

Drones & The Law

Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced registration requirements for anyone flying a drone weighing over 250g recreationally. Most drones that fall under the toy category will not have to be registered, while those built for video, racing and autonomous flight likely do. Drone registration can be done via the FAA website – and separate, more stringent requirements are applied to professional drone fliers.

Once registered, the registration number must be displayed on the drone. This can be as simple as a sticker or shipping label placed under the battery, along with the owner’s name and number in case of theft or loss. The FAA also defines restrictions on where drones can be flown. They can’t be flown higher than 400 feet, in restricted airspaces, or over emergency areas, like traffic accidents or wildfires. They’re also banned from flying through national parks and cannot be flown within 5 miles of an airport without informing the air traffic controllers. Federal, state, and local regulations can vary, so check with the organizations directly if unsure.

Drone Accessories & Add-ons

Additional hardware can be added to drones that have ample lift from their propellers and motors. Lift specs can be found via the drone manufacturer’s website. In general, drones built to support external cameras are usually equipped to carry an additional half pound or more of weight above that of the drone on its own. Added weight increases stress on the motors and can affect flight time and stability.

The most popular and useful drone accessory is undoubtedly the spare battery. Drone batteries can provide between 5 and 25 minutes of power in the air per charge but can take an hour or longer to recharge. Fortunately, most drone batteries can simply be replaced with a freshly charged one when the power levels get low. To get the most airtime out of each flying session, users should invest in several spares.

The next most useful accessories for drones are spare propellers and parts. Because occasional mishaps and less-than-perfect landings are an inevitable part of flying drones, they were designed to survive crashes. The exterior components are made from sturdy materials – such as polypropylene foam and carbon fiber – that protect the more sensitive parts, like the CPUs, motors and transmitters. The parts that break the most easily, like the propellers, are the cheapest and easiest to repair or replace. New drones often have extra propellers included, and additional spares are usually available for purchase separately as well. Remember that drones need different propellers to spin clockwise and counterclockwise for stability, so it’s wise to get both kinds of spare propellers.

Depending on use cases, other drone add-ons that may be of interest include LED bands, propeller guards and extra landing gear. For photography drones in particular, various lens filters can be added to alter saturation levels, reduce glare, and more. Getting a quality bag or case specifically designed to carry a drone is an important investment as well. Drone bundles can often be found with a number of accessories. Drone cases should have a foam interior built to fit the device and its accessories and protect them from damage during transit.

Featured Products

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Things to Consider When Buying a Drone

There is a multitude of options on the market now, with each model excelling in something else. Hence, before you go ahead and buy your drone, decide what are the most important things to consider when buying one.

Purpose

Drone to Learn Flying

When you just wanna try and see if it’s something for you, learn how to fly a drone and have some fun, it may be better to go for a cheap UAS. You can get one for as little as $30 and it will have all the functions you’ll need. It may lack in video quality, or it can get heavy, but you will be able to play with it without worrying as much about crashing. It’s a good idea to start with this and learn the ropes.

Here’s a list of best drones for under 200 dollars in 2020.

Drone for Hiking

You can capture some of the best videos of yourself and your friends, as well as the landscapes, when you go hiking with a quadcopter. The most important things to consider when you buy a drone for hiking are weight, flight time, camera resolution and camera stabilization. It’s also important to make sure it will fit into your drone backpack (yeah, that’s actually a thing now).

With this in mind, we created a list of the best drones for hiking in 2020.

Hiking Drone

Drone for Selfies

It’s no longer uncommon to see someone swapping a selfie stick for a selfie drone. From pocket drones that can take photos of you and your friends to machines that will follow your movement and react to voice commands/ hand gestures, there’s a whole genre of devices built to accommodate the need for us to capture each moment from another perspective.https://6a7216e4485e9de66bead7c4465a0d81.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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We created a list of best selfie drones in 2020, and there’s even one that doubles as your phone cover so it’s always with you.

Drone Weight

Depending on how you want to use your drone, its weight is probably the most important factor to take into consideration. If you want to take it with you everywhere, heavy UAS will soon prove to be a burden. Lightweight, however, often lack the extra features and have shorter flight times. Hence it’s a trade off you’ll need to consider first.

Important! Many countries regulate the licensing and use of UAV based on their weight. Do consider your contry’s regulations before buying a drone. Many places around the world do not require licensing or registration to use drones under 250 grams.

Flight Time/ Batteries

How long you can fly your drone on each battery will determine how far you can go with it. When the first personal drones come out you had a minute or so to play with. Now there are drones that can fly for 30 minutes non-stop and then you can just swap a spare battery to continue.

Flight time of each battery charge is one of the most important things to check before making a purchase decision. Also, do not forget to see if the batteries can be easily replaced or even if the drone comes with spare ones.

Drone Parts
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Flight/ Control Range

How far you can fly without losing control can make a huge difference in the footage and fun you can get from your drone.

There are 3 main methods of communicating with your drone, which impact it’s control range:

  • Radio
    You’ll need a controller to send and receive the radio waves to and from your drone. Depending on the size of the antenna, the range can extend up to 5 miles.
  • Wi-Fi
    The maximum control range using Wi-Fi signals is about 650 yards (600 meters). It’s often much shorter so you’ll have to see the specs of each drone you consider. The good thing is that with some models you may not need a separate controller to fly your UAS.
  • GPS
    It’s also possible, with some models, to define a flight path that your drone will then follow using Global Positioning System (GPS).

Controller

With the things mentioned above in mind, there is a trade off between flight range and total weight of the equipment you have to carry with you. On one hand, it would be best if we could use your smartphone to fly the drone, so that you don’t have to carry an additional controller, but on the other hand the range would suffer without it.

If you just want the drone for selfies, then lack of controller would be fantastic, but if you want to go far into the sea to capture whales, then you want to be in control at all times and from afar. Consider this before you choose your quadcopter.

Drone Controller
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Camera Resolution

Most people use drones for videos, so you should check if your new drone would capture the world in low resolution, Standard Definition (SD), 720P High Definition (HD), 1080P Full HD (FHD), or 4K. Each one is at least twice better than the one before and something to consider.

It’s also very important to check if the footage is recorded to an SD card in the drone, or sent to your smartphone before getting recorded there. If it’s not built-in, whenever you lose connection, you lose that part of the recording. Whereas, with the on-board SD card you’ll have the full footage at your disposal after retrieving your drone, even if it lost the connection with the controller.

Camera Stabilization

Your drone, if it has any camera stabilization at all which you should check, will either stabilize the recording with software or mechanically.

The best for the job is a 3-axis gimbal. Thanks to which, your videos will be filmed with a steady, cinematic motion that compensates for the shakes and wind movements.

Alternatively, some models compensate for the shaky conditions with built-in software. Not as good as a gimbal but much better than nothing at all.

Drone And Smartphone
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First Person View (FPV)

Check if it’s possible to see through First Person View directly from your drone while flying. While you can control the AUV by looking at it directly, it would be better to sometimes see for yourself if everything you want to record stays within the frame.

Speed

The importance of your drone’s speed becomes crucial when you need to fly in a strong wind. It may not be able to return back to you if you’re standing upwind, and there are places where it would not be possible to retrieve your drone by walking up to it (imagine shooting at sea).

If you just want to use your drone for fun, then speed is important as it’s just more exciting to fly it faster.

Final thoughts

The application of drone technology to agriculture seems unusual, but it’s hard to argue with its benefits. By harnessing drone technology, farmers can get up-to-date and detailed data on the health of their crops in a matter of minutes or hours instead of the weeks it would take to gather data the traditional way. This concept presents a radically successful integration of modern technology to a very old-fashioned industry.

Although the technology has been used in several countries for many years, there is still a huge potential for the agricultural drones to develop so they can be used for other applications. The DJI Agras shows us the future because it’s essentially a crop duster compressed into the size of a drone that can carry out automated commands. The high cost of this technology has also made it hard to access for some markets, particularly developing countries whose economies rely largely on agriculture. With world hunger and food scarcity becoming more and more relevant problems, agricultural drones are the type of technology we’d like to see hit the mainstream.

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