It’s a little mind-blowing, really. Robert Morris served in the U.S. Army as a Technical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) Platoon Leader in Afghanistan. His ground-breaking work helped uncover intelligence that made critically important strategic decisions, but after returning to the states Morris realized drones were the wrong choice for agriculture.
Instead a conversation with a buddy led Morris to start TerrAvion, an aerial imaging service for agriculture that uses planes instead of drones. And while drone-based businesses are booming, ($3.4 billion forecast for agriculture applications) Morris says the economics just aren’t there for a grower. “Electric drone collection uses 20 times more labor per acre than planes,” says Robert. “And a typical drone can collect aerial images for just 4,200 acres in one day versus 500,000 acres for a plane. The economics are pretty clear,” he says.
Regulations are another overwhelming factor. “While drone usage has been approved in select areas for select applications, it will be a long time before they have the broad clearance required for wide scale adoption,” says Robert. His company can fly planes at required 8,000 foot elevation in every state and South America right now.
A subscription service means a grower receives birds-eye view images of a farm each week. Multiple wavelengths mean information can be used to plan scouting, management actives and interventions.
Currently TerrAvion is focused almost exclusively on agriculture and it’s simple to get started. While many farmers choose to go through retail partners, its also possible to go to the website, upload field information, pick a subscription plan and start receiving images right away.
“The thing that has been promised is here,” Morris assures us. “It doesn’t look exactly like the hype, but it’s even better. There’s no work required on the grower’s part beyond learning how to use the data to farm better on a larger footprint.”
Listen to Chucks interview and learn more about TerrAvion’s services here: Interview with Robert Morris, TerrAvion