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Decatur City Limitless
Ag Café highlights future of drone usage

Ag Café highlights future of drone usage

October 27 – Drone and UAV technology is rapidly improving and Ag Technologist Chad Colby is encouraging Macon County farmers and agribusinesses to get on board.


Colby was the featured speaker at today’s Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Ag Café at the Beach House.  He’s the founder of Colby AgTech , the General Manager of Central Illinois Ag, and a farmer.  Colby has dove into the Ag technology scene and now he travels the Midwest sharing what he’s learned.


“When you talk about drones it just opens up a whole hornet’s nest of questions,” Colby says.  “For the last four or five years, I’ve been flying drones all over the country and talking about it.  Today was about sharing what I’ve learned.”


Colby is a licensed UAV pilot and tries to get his hands on all the new drone technology.  Drone tech continues to improve.  During his presentation Thursday, Colby went over different types of drones and attachments.  New cameras coming out allow for thermal imaging and up to 180-times zoom capability.


Drones have become popular in the Ag world for crop risk assessment and many more applications.  Colby says drones can really improve your crop by finding where problems are.


“As farmers we are trying to track performance; we want find a problem and see if it is an issue that a farmer can fix or not,” he says.  “There’s so much [drones can do] from the basics of scouting to advanced imagery and all of it is coming so fast.  It’s exciting for farmers because of all the challenges agriculture always faces.”


Colby says drones allow you to pinpoint where a problem is and the accuracy will continue to rise in the future.


Drone use goes beyond agricultural applications.  Colby says they are used for insurance, search and rescue, roof and bridge inspections, etc.


“There’s just all kinds of uses for the technology but it’s expanding and will continue to do so for several years.”