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Area Farmers Use Drones To Monitor Crops In Fields

Area farmers are now using drones to monitor their fields and crops. (WICS)

Area farmers are now using technology to monitor their fields and crops. The aerial photography taken by drones is serving as an eye in the sky. Farmers like Jim Ayers say they give a new outlook on farming.

"Drones give us the ability to look at land from a different perspective," said Ayers.

He's been using the electronic device for two years to monitor his corn and soybean fields. That's what this video he previously shot captures.

"We've actually been able to find spots that have a bug infestation," said Ayers. “We can address that quicker if we get out and see those yields.”

Farmer Ayers says these electronic devices allow farmers like him to produce better yields if the problem is caught in time. The results are so promising that drone use amongst farmers is catching steam in central Illinois.

"We are definitely seeing more farmers utilizing the drones,” said Jim Birge with the Sangamon County Farm Bureau. “It's relatively inexpensive. They can be costly; for a basic version they are inexpensive and can do an awful lot in a short period of time.”

Birge says agriculture is set to takeover about 80 percent of the drone market in the coming years. That's something that doesn't surprise Ayers. He says it has made keeping track of his crops easier, especially since it’s impossible to walk through all the acres of land he owns.

"Corn really doesn't want to have a bad day. If we can help that crop produce better during the course of the year, it will give us more yield in the end," said Ayers.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations require drone users to fly under 400 feet, and stay away from airports, stadiums and groups of people. Other guidelines are drone operators should never fly under the influence and near emergency efforts.

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