Farmers are finding unexpected ways to use drones on their farms, according to a company that brings in the equipment.
Justin Pringle from Newcastle firm Heliguy was at last week’s Precision Farming Event at Newark with a range of pretty affordable drones, typically with four or six rotors to keep them aloft.
Prices are coming down, he points out, with the latest DJI Phantom quadcopter costing £400 plus another £100 if you want to fit a GoPro camera.
Farmers are using the drones for all sort of purposes, he adds.
Scaring pigeons is one of the most popular uses, with some people fitting a rape alarm to give extra effectiveness.
Batteries on the alarms only last five minutes but can be extended by fitting a bigger battery.
Farmers using drones for this purpose say that an erratic flight has more effect and fitting a carbon fibre bird-of-prey shape can be effective.
Some farmers are also apparently looking at fitting £10 radio frequency identification tags on sheep and then using a drone to check them.
The tags can be read from a distance of 30m and at speeds of 5-10mph.
As well as using them for monitoring crops, ditches, fences and roofs, some farmers have apparently found them good for checking out potential fly-tippers.
These latest drones can fly for 15-16 minutes, says Mr Pringle and new fitments are coming along like thermal cameras that can see in the dark.