NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?  (Read 1212 times)

Shoeey

  • Joined May 2018
Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« on: February 06, 2019, 10:50:36 am »
Hi all, I wonder if any of you on here use drones on your smallholdings. I would think they might be a useful alternative to field walking or quad biking on rough land. What are your experiences?
Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 12:34:43 pm »
No need here as we can see all our land from the top of the rise.  It sounds like a good idea though in some ways but I know it would go down like a lead balloon with our neighbours who would assume we were spying on them  ::)
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 02:12:12 pm »
By coincidence I was talking to a friend in Lanzarote who has a dairy herd of goats that roam free over a large area , he is thinking of using a drone to herd the goats back to the dairy in the evening,  some are gps tagged so the location where to send the drone to is known, I've seen a bit of footage of a small trial , which is " interesting".
I feel that boots on the ground is a better idea , more intimate especially for a smallholding , of course if you have several hundred acres then it is an idea that might grow legs.



Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 02:56:46 pm »
By coincidence I was talking to a friend in Lanzarote who has a dairy herd of goats that roam free over a large area , he is thinking of using a drone to herd the goats back to the dairy in the evening,  some are gps tagged so the location where to send the drone to is known, I've seen a bit of footage of a small trial , which is " interesting".
I feel that boots on the ground is a better idea , more intimate especially for a smallholding , of course if you have several hundred acres then it is an idea that might grow legs.



…. or wings as it may be… but on a more serious note the noise a drone makes may just scare some livestock quite a bit.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 05:56:24 pm »
They’d get used to it, Anke.  I used to get cross at USAF, the RAF and their friends flying helicopters and all sorts over our stock - but actually, me shouting and shaking my fist at the pilots upset the sheep far more than the flying machines  :D
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 11:54:34 pm »
The practical question is what do you want to get from drone use? A small-holding implies small acreage where the hassle of getting the thing out and actually flyng it is probably as much as going to take a look on bike or foot.
Drones come as fixed-wing or typically multi-rotor jobbies. I have used my r/c helis with cameras in the past but unless you're either flying low and slow or higher with some serious camera equipment and then spend time reviewing footage you're not going to see detail.
Where it comes into it's own is in things like field surveys to spot patches of crops that may need attention (poor growth for soil/drainage reasons or pests) but you need to be seriously commercial and to scale to justify it.  It would have a purpose to scan a bit of woodland from above or down some nasty ravine or steep hillside - but then the question still remains as to what end? A lost sheep ina  lot of acreage perhaps but it'll be hiding under bracken

On the other hand if you just fancy having a play with a cheap version then by all means stick it down as a business expense if you can - why not? But for serious work it's serious money. This link to a youtube video shows a bit of small scale crop dusting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thmzXw-1KKY
I'd guess getting something like that built is in the £15-20K+ bracket and any crash will cost £2K+.

My heaviest heli running on petrol can run 20 mins on a tank of petrol and carry about a pint of spray fluid weight as well. (It doesn't have a spray system) and was about £4K when I built it 10yrs ago. Any crash destroys the blades at £100 a set. A typical crash is £200-£400. Multirotor drones are more stable and programmable but for serious use there will usually be two pilots - one flying FPV (First person view) and one eyes-on working the rest of the gear. A hobby small drone won;t do much damage to a stray human.. my biggest heli (1800mm rotor span @ 1800rpm & 7kg wt) hitting soemone would do serious possibly fatal) harm.

I once managed to hit myself with my smallest heli - 900mm span @ 2,500 rpm and a few ounces weight as a beginner and broke a finger in two places with nasty lacerations

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 12:18:41 am »
They’d get used to it, Anke.  I used to get cross at USAF, the RAF and their friends flying helicopters and all sorts over our stock - but actually, me shouting and shaking my fist at the pilots upset the sheep far more than the flying machines  :D


Oh Sally
Our lads and lassies have to practice. When the choppers have come in to land in one of our fields, the sheep don't bat an eyelid, and are more curious than anything.  Fast jets used to use our long red tin barn roof as a turning point when low flying.  I love military planes - amazing technology.  My dad hated them though as they would fly low over his farm and the turkeys would all crowd into the corners of their housing and suffocate eachother. It took quite a time to get the planes to avoid the farm. Our free range poultry here just hide for a minute under a bush, the same as for a raptor.  All the stock has soon got used to planes and choppers, but they hate the hot air balloons especially when they come down just over the hedge, or flame to go higher.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Maysie

  • Joined Jan 2018
  • Herefordshire/Shropshire Border
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 11:17:00 am »
Oh Sally
Our lads and lassies have to practice.
My wifes old home was flattened by an RAF jet when the trainee pilot ejected shortly after take off, leaving the plane to circle the village a few times before crashing through her family cottage with her mother inside and then bursting into a ball of flames. 

I am not sure the livestock would get used to that!   :innocent:

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=55488
 

PK

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • West Suffolk
    • Notes from a Suffolk Smallholding
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2019, 01:30:18 pm »
We live near to Lakenheath and the F-15 jets, after taking off, turn off to Norfolk or the Baltic just above our house. They are quite loud when they take off (fortunately we hear no more of them until their much quieter return at the end of the day). The livestock and pets are entirely unperturbed.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 04:53:01 pm »
We live near to Lakenheath and the F-15 jets, after taking off, turn off to Norfolk or the Baltic just above our house. They are quite loud when they take off (fortunately we hear no more of them until their much quieter return at the end of the day). The livestock and pets are entirely unperturbed.


They are hard to see when on the ground there, and not a hillock in sight for a better view. I've always been fascinated by Lakenheath.  When I was a child the airmen drove huge wide American cars, from the wrong side, being LHD.  Amazing things.  Not far from Grimes Graves either, another of my favourite places.


When my younger son was a baby he was put out in his pram in the garden, with phantoms taking off over his head.  He slept soundly, and has grown up to be a chopper pilot - early conditioning!  I'm not sure how good for him all the unburnt fuel was  :thinking:


Sorry, that's nothing to do with drones  :-[
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

zwartbles

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 09:25:39 am »
Also from Norfolk! It's fascinating to watch the practice fights far overhead. Some of the turns that they make are incredible with huge speed variations.The noise when three of them turn the gas on at once has to be heard to be believed!
No drones though!! ;D

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2019, 08:41:57 pm »
A bit of an update on the drone herding , I was visiting last week an interesting time as the dairy had just been purchased by a large company and have large company ideas.
The goats are let out in the morning after milking and dissapear off in to scrub. As some of the goats are gps tagged the location of the herd is  ( roughly ) known at the end of the day the drone was sent to the location, the goats at first got the hint and set off back home ahead of the drone , at first , by the third day the drone had no effect apart from dozens of faces looking up and giving it a stern ignoring and coming home was when they wanted to. :)  . Then a visit from the Police put the final spanner in the works, not that dozens of goats were wandering un attended but the drone was flying in a restricted area.
Goat herding job in Lanzarote anyone ?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2019, 09:50:50 pm »
Santa gave a drone to a friend of mine, so he brought it up to our place to try out. He managed to take some stunning videos of our place, which also encouraged us to take several trips to the tip in the New Year  :innocent: .


The sheep looked up to see what the noise was, but were otherwise unfazed. I very much doubt we'd have been able to drive them using a drone. Of course if you could sling a yellow bucket underneath said drone, that could be a different story  :idea: .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2019, 07:10:39 am »
It has been discovered that burglars are casing premises round here with drones and if nobody seems to be at home they are moving in.  Unfortunately for them it was spotted by someone mending a roof at another place who called the cops.  Even more fortuitously the cops were at a place only half a mile away where the same thing had happened recently.

Unfortunately the culprits bogged off through the hole they had made in the fencing and only left tyre tracks.  Apart from breaking some locks they did not get anything.

Drones not welcome round here now.

symber

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Moray
Re: Do any of you use drones to monitor your land?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2019, 09:51:40 am »
I've been wondering about this, too and, as PGKEVET very thoroughly answers, it depends what you're looking to achieve.

I've been using a very low-cost quad-copter (£150) to record building progress on a house over the last year and here's what I've learnt about their use:

1. Make sure your camera is vibration stabilised - ones that aren't are pretty much unusable.
2. Get one with altitude hold - it's a lot easier to fly.
3. Heading-hold is also useful - people rave-on about "headless mode", but I found this to be a pain to use.
4. The wifi link on mine drops out at about 10m altitude, which is useless for FPV control - get one with better range if you want to fly off the video return or a headset.
5. Even a fairly light wind at ground-level can be really quite strong 20m or so up - my small quad-copter has been uncontrollable and blown out of range more than once - probably the bigger the better is the rule to use, there.
6. The cows and sheep I've flown over aren't bothered at all by my small quad-copter - something bigger or at lower altitude might worry them, though.

I've looked into IR filming of land briefly, to assess moisture levels, but it's quite technically demanding and the camera equipment is very expensive.  There's some interesting info here, though.

I would have thought a medium/high-end FPV equipped drone would be great for finding missing sheep up a mountain, though :)

 

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