INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Would you like to have a free Phantom 4 drone to help scout your fields? Be at the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo Dec. 11-13 for a chance at winning one of three.
In keeping with the Expo theme and to boost attendance, one Phantom 4 drone package will be given away at 2 p.m. each day to a drawing winner who has registered and is present, according to Gary Truitt, president of Hoosier Ag Today and one of the show’s organizers.
Complete contest rules and pre-registration can be found online at www.indianafarmexpo.com or show attendees can register to win at the Expo, which will take place in the West Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Admission to the show is free.
“This is one of the most innovative things in farming,” Truitt said. “Many use (drones) to scout their fields to check on crop health, monitor weed control, disease and insect infestation. New, sophisticated mapping programs can use the data collected by drones to assess crop yields.”
Purdue University agronomy professor Robert Nielsen said using drones is all about efficiency. “If you stand at the edge of a 100-acre field, you can cover that area in 15 to 20 minutes using the eyes of the drone,” he explained. “If you like to shoot video (of the area) you can go back to your computer and get a good display.
“But most drones are transmitting video to an iPad in real time and you don’t have to wait ’til you get back to your desktop (to view the video).”
Drones help producers easily see crop problems such as nutrient deficiencies, washouts and gullies leading to quicker diagnosis and treatment, Nielsen said. At the same time, he said he has not invested in goggles.
“Goggles are mostly for racers. At this point in time, I don’t think they add much more to the experience, given the cost (of goggles) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) considerations.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), another name for drones, can cost from $500-$2,000, Nielsen said, so the giveaway is a great value. Those unsure about drones can watch demonstrations of the Purdue Drone Program at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day of the show.
John Scott, digital agriculture extension coordinator for the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, and Mark Carter, Delaware County extension educator, will be demonstrating what drones can do and discussing Purdue ag applications used in the last two years.
In addition, California drone manufacturer AeroVironment, Inc. will have its models on display and for sale at the show. Its Quantix drone quickly and accurately maps acreage, allowing users to easily spot crop health and operational issues that might be missed by the naked eye.
While still in the field using Quick-Look maps, anomalies can be identified to determine water, insect, weed and disease pressures, to catch potential issues before they start impacting yield.
Truitt and Farm World Publisher Gary Thoe said more than 140 other companies will be at the Expo, and “an expanded lineup of seminars and live demonstrations will provide attendees with new ideas and products to farm more profitably in 2019,” Truitt added.
This is the inaugural Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo, hosted by radio network Hoosier Ag Today and Farm World’s parent company, MidCountry Media, Inc. It will focus on new technology and product innovation in farm equipment, seed genetics, bioscience, precision agriculture, artificial intelligence and Big Data.
The website www.indianafarmexpo.com is being updated as features and exhibitors are added, and pre-registration for the Expo can be done on the site. For details on exhibit space, contact Toni Hodson at 800-876-5133, ext. 280.