TAKING FARMERS TO THE SKY

Experts agree that drones are revolutionising the agricultural market in New Zealand. Our geography makes drones particularly relevant. Many New Zealand farms have large varieties of terrain that make transit and management a logistical challenge. Drones take the farmer into the sky, and away from having to navigate the difficult terrain.

As the world's leader in easy-to-fly drones and aerial cameras, DJI drones are the best fit for New Zealand farmers. Our drones allow farmers to utilise technology for those jobs that are dangerous, dirty or just plain dull. Farmers from all over the world are now using DJI drones like the Mavic 2 Enterprise, Phantom 4 Series and Agras MG Series to manage and assess stock, survey and map land, spray crops, and comply with strict health and safety regulations.

For more information on how we can help with your project, contact our Commercial Solutions team on 0800 787 623 or commercial@ferntech.co.nz.

We are a Farmlands Card Partner and accept Farmlands cards for all drone purchases.

 
 

HOW ARE NEW ZEALAND FARMERS USING DRONES?

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Stock Management

The most common purpose for agricultural drones in New Zealand is stock management. Stock farmers typically use drones to perform checks on the farm (e.g. water levels, fences, gates, animal health). Drones with speakers can be used to swiftly herd stock — sheep, deer and cattle all respond just the same as they would with bikes and dogs. Many of our customers use them to bring cows in the milking. Lastly, they make finding stock — from sheep stuck in deep gullies to deer for hunting - a breeze.

Matt and Lynley Wyeth, who own a 1000ha sheep and beef farm west of Masterton, had this story to tell:

"The other day we had the drone fly over this mob of sheep and straight away we could see there was this one sheep that hadn't moved with the mob. So the drone buzzed down a bit closer and we found it was cast... You don't want a sheep left like that for long, they die pretty quickly. So straight away our little son was on his bike, straight over there, and he flipped up the ewe. That's $400 saved in less than four minutes."

Product recommendation: The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise

 
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Mapping

We are increasingly seeing drones used for mapping farms. Even simple consumer DJI drones can be used in 2D and 3D mapping applications to measure areas and monitor crop health. Farmers can even mount specialised camera systems that measure photosynthesis to give crop farmers (particularly fruit tree farmers) an early heads up as to any signs of disease.

In an article from Rural News, farmer Nick Hoogeveen utilises his drone alongside software from DroneDeploy, to autonomously run a grid over his farm, taking a series of vertical photographs that are then automatically stitched into a single map.

“To survey one of my farms, which is about 238ha, takes me roughly 40 minutes with three battery changes. So that gives me a snapshot in time of what my farm is like at that point. Over the winter we were using it to do a survey of the run-off block then we could draw on it with GPS precision where the crops had been grazed so we can see what area of crop we have left and how much we had used in the previous week.”

Product recommendation: The DJI Mavic 2 Pro

 
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Crop Health & Spraying

By attaching multispectral NDVI cameras such as the MicaSense RedEdge to a DJI Phantom 4 or Matrice 200 series drone, farmers are able to monitor crop health with an incredible level of detail. NDVI cameras records what the naked eye cannot see — a spectral analysis of plant life. When the images are stitched together the farmer benefits from an entire field of data. This data can be used for identifying areas of crops that need attention, detecting diseases and damage from pests, prescribing spraying or fertilisation plans, and creating an overview of the condition of the crops.

At the top end of the scale, DJI drones like the Agras Series are used for crop spraying. They can be effective as they actively track terrain and ensure no wastage of spray. Running costs are minimal compared to conventional, diesel powered equipment or helicopters. The Agras MG-1P is designed for fully automatic spraying missions, which are repeatable and measurable, alongside manual spot-spraying sorties to ensure your application of spray treatments is as accurate as possible.

Product recommendation: The DJI Agras MG-1P

 
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Health and Safety

Health and safety is increasingly becoming an issue that New Zealand farmers are having to address.

The introduction of drones means that farmers can be more cautious about adhering to health and safety regulations. From assessing the top of the shed roof to checking fences in dangerous gullies, farmers can utilise easy-to-fly and inexpensive drone technology to assure safety of themselves and their workers on those potentially dangerous jobs.

Product recommendation: The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise


 

CASE STUDIES

STOCK MANAGEMENT WITH THE MAVIC 2 ENTERPRISE

Cody from the Ferntech team visited David Rowlands who manages a farm in the Bay of Plenty. David has been employing the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise to his daily farm operations and has seen an improvement in effectiveness and efficiency. Watch the video below.

“We use the Mavic 2 Enterprise on our farm to carry out stock surveillance, especially around lambing and calving time. We can fly up to our mob and see if there are any sheep or cattle needing assistance in no time at all.”

 
 
 

BARKING DRONES IN NORTH CANTERBURY

Farmer and customer Corey Lambeth talked to Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint about how he utilises his “barking drone”, the Mavic 2 Enterprise, as part of his team on his North Canterbury sheep and beef farm. Watch the video below.

“Lambing is ideal for the zoom camera we can get right up close and inspect the lambs without disturbing the ewes. I’ve also noticed that when you are moving cows and calves, the cow will often stand up to the dogs, but they have never done that with the drone.”

 


OUR KEY PRODUCTS FOR AGRICULTURE

 

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise is similar to the DJI Mavic Pro, which is popular for its portability and high-quality camera, but it is designed with a smart port on top of the craft that allows the addition of modular accessories, such as a loudspeaker and a spotlight. The loudspeaker can be used to record any audio, including a siren sound or dog barking, to play back at a sound level able to be heard from hundreds of metres away. Stock respond quickly and effectively to the sound.

The Mavic 2 Enterprise also sports a 12 megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom, and is capable of capturing 4K footage. Farmers already utilise the camera for a range of tasks from checking stock to examining troughs to assessing hard-to-reach fencelines. The addition of the zoom for closer inspection, the spotlight for low light operations and GPS timestamping for accuracy, makes these operations even easier than before. In cold climates, self-heating batteries ensure the drone will perform, even in sub-zero temperatures.

 
 
 

DJI Agras MG-1P

The Agras MG-1P is DJI's latest and most effective Agricultural Spray Drone offering comprehensive solutions that are revolutionising the spray industry. The Agras MG-1P is revolutionising the way farmers around the globe manage crops. This spraying drone dramatically increases work efficiency with the ability to pre-plan routes and control up to five aircraft* at once within a 3-km range. Enjoy safe, reliable flights with automatic obstacle avoidance and altitude adjustment, and monitor progress with real-time HD video transmission. Be it covering flat paddocks and tackling gorse on steep hillsides, the Agras MG-1P is a user friendly, cost-effective, safe, adaptable solution for farmers and horticulturalists.

* With current regulations, you require various certifications to fly the Agras MG-1P legally. These include: Part 102 Exposition, UAV Pilots Certificate, Aerial Spray certification, UAV AG Rating Certificate.

 
 
 

Mavic 2 Zoom

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom sports the same 12 megapixel 2x optical zoom camera as the Mavic 2 Enterprise. With a maximum flying time of 31 minutes, the Mavic 2 Zoom will give you the perfect platform for checking things out on your farm. Its powerful Ocusync 2 transmission system means you will be able to cover more ground with lower chance of interference.

While this craft does not have the ability to carry the speaker system that the Mavic 2 Enterprise has, it will still be very useful on the farm. At a lower price point, this could be the best way to see if a drone will work for you.

We also have the Fly More Combo available for the Mavic 2 Zoom, giving you more batteries, a car charger and a shoulder carry bag so you can fly for longer and transport the craft easily.

 
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use my Farmlands card?

Yes, we are a Farmlands Card Partner and accept Farmlands cards for all drone purchases. .

I’m not very tech-savvy. Do you offer any support to help me start flying a drone?

Our team are on hand to help you make the most of your drone. Give us a call during store hours from Monday to Saturday and we will talk you through whatever you want to achieve. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook for upcoming training events.

How far can I fly around my property?

Legally you must keep the drone within visual line of sight, and keep below 400ft from the ground level. We suggest taking off from a high point so you can easily keep your drone in sight and ensure you won't get in the way of any low flying aircraft. Please visit www.flyyourdrone.nz or www.airshare.co.nz to find out more about where you can and cannot fly your drones.

How high, how far, how fast can I fly?

How high you can fly is limited by the regulations in NZ for flying drones, this limits you to 400ft AGL (Above Ground Level). You are able to fly as far as you are able to see the drone and it’s orientation with the naked eye. As for speed, different drones can fly at varying speeds. For example, it is possible to fly the Mavic 2 up to 72 kilometers per hour, whereas the Inspire 2 can fly up to 98 kilometers per hour.

How would the Mavic 2 Enterprise help with mustering?

The issue with previous sirens was that animals would get used to the noise and therefore not move as a result. The new Mavic 2 Enterprise allows the user to play varying sounds (a dog bark, for example) over its loud speaker. It also has an excellent 2x optical zoom camera so you can easily check if there is any stock hiding underneath trees or in a hard-to-reach or dangerous area.

How do stock respond to the drone?

Occasionally, livestock will be curious about the drone, but once it plays a loud sound they will move in the opposite direction. It will take a little practice, but you can guide stock where you need to quite easily as a drone is very agile in the air.

What is the capabilities of flying in hard-to-reach locations?

If your property has gullies which are hard to access or steep hillsides which could be dangerous for yourself, your bike or your dogs, a drone could be the perfect solution to access these areas. With a strong radio link, you can be sure you will have control over your drone in tricky environments and be able to assess what is going on. Drones such as the Mavic 2 Enterprise are quite compact, and are capable of flying through narrow gaps, although we don't recommend flying too close to trees!

What can I do with my drone in the weekend?

The Mavic and Phantom series can also be used for recreational purposes like hunting and fishing. We sell a fishing drop that can be attached to the drone to make surf-casting a breeze.

What kind of accessories should I get for my drone?

The essential accessory for any drone owner is extra batteries so that you can fly for longer time periods. Although this is our first recommendation, there are many other options which can help to enhance your drone operation. A charging hub, for example, means you can throw multiple batteries on a charger at the end of the day and have them ready for the next day’s work. You can also purchase tablet holders so that you can hold a larger screen for viewing the live feed from the drone, as well as sun shades to help keep the glare off your screen.

To see more accessories available for your drone choice, please visit ferntech.co.nz and see what is available for your craft.

How many batteries should I get?

Two or three batteries would be ideal for a decent amount of flying time. On average, a Mavic 2 Enterprise will fly for 25 minutes per battery, with its accessories running. The maximum flying time is 31 minutes, but this is in perfect conditions and tested at a certain speed of flight. Keep in mind that a drone can cover a vast amount of ground very quickly, so a 25 minute battery life may not sound like much, but you can achieve a lot in that time.

How do I transport the drone around the farm?

Ideally you will want to keep the drone well protected from impact, dust and weather when transporting it around the farm, so an ABS Hard Shell Case is a great addition to your kit. On the other hand, a Mavic drone easily fits in to a much smaller carry case which can be placed in your quad bike’s toolbox or tucked away on the back seat of your ute. Just make sure you have a way of keeping all your kit together, such as batteries, gimbal-clamps and chargers.

Can I sit at home with my cup of coffee and check on the stock?

Why not! Just make sure you have the ability to keep the drone within visual line of sight.

Will you be at Fieldays?

Fieldays is one of the biggest events of our calendar year and our Commercial Solutions team will be there to talk you through the products and offer advice on which drone is best for your needs. We also offer unbeatable Fieldays specials every year.

Why buy from Ferntech?

By buying from Ferntech, you'll have the confidence that you are dealing directly with New Zealand's leading drone specialists. Our team are knowledgeable drone pilots who offer expert advice, trusted support and superior specialist service. Only through us will you receive a full New Zealand warranty, phone and email support, and access to our certified Repairs Centre with DJI-qualified drone technicians. And we guarantee that we will have the best prices on the market — if not let us know and we will match any price (some conditions apply).

Born in Christchurch in 2013, we are a proud local Kiwi business.. Our team work hard to ensure that drone technology is helping individuals, businesses and organisations across New Zealand to achieve what was once out of reach.

 

GET IN TOUCH

 

Not sure which drone is right for your farm? Our team have helped farmers across the country embrace drone technology and we are here to help.

Give us a call on 0800 787 623, email us at commercial@ferntech.co.nz, or fill out the form below:

 
 
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