Des Moines, Iowa – November 24, 2014: The Nebraska Power Farming Show, presented by Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect, is known for showcasing the latest technology in agriculture and this year is no exception. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is an exciting frontier. Four UAV companies will display their products this year. There are three plane-type UAVs: Honeycomb, Sensefly and Slantrange, and two Helicopter-type UAVs: Slantrange and Precision Drone.

UAVs are the new form of crop scouting. Equipped with a camera and the correct software on the ground, UAVs give growers and scouters the ability to check crop health from the air at an efficient rate. Software on the ground can stitch aerial shots into a high-resolution mosaic map that can be used to make better crop management decisions.

UAVs can provide farmers with two types of detailed views. First, seeing a crop from the air can reveal patterns that expose everything from irrigation and fertilizer problems to soil variations and even pest and fungal infestations that are not apparent at eye-level. Second, cameras can take multispectral images (infrared and visual spectrum) which can be combined to create a view of the crop that highlights the difference between healthy and distressed plants.

Laura Thompson, UNL Extension Educator, will discuss the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as it relates to measuring nitrogen levels and other ways UAVs are advantageous in agriculture. She will be presenting Wednesday of the show in Seminar 1 located north of the food court in Pavilion 3.

Although there is excitement about the use of UAVs, the legality of flying them remains an issue. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) prohibits the use of all unmanned aircraft for commercial use without the agency’s express approval. The FAA has said that it plans to allow commercial UAVs once it has drawn up proper regulations for the aircraft. Some rulings may occur yet in 2015, but more likely in early 2016. In the meantime, the current recommendation is to educate yourself about UAVs and spend some time with flight simulator software.

Honeycomb is in Booth 3505 in Pavilion 3; eBee by Sense is sold by Labra Consulting, Booth 4914 in Pavilion 4; SLANTRANGE Ag Drone is in Booth 3209 in Pavilion 2 and Precision Drone is represented by McGinnis Precision Drone, Booth 1908 in Pavilion 1. There could be more UAV vendors by show time, so stop by any information booth to inquire.

The Nebraska Power Farming Show, the second largest indoor farm show in the United States, runs from December 8-10, 2015, at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. This year the show is sponsored by: Diamond Sponsors – Farm Credit Services of America & AgDirect; Platinum Sponsor – Bayer CropScience; and Gold Sponsors – Nebraska Farm Bureau and Stine Seed.