While casually browsing online news articles a few months ago, I stumbled upon a topic that really drew my interest: how the future of fine wine is being threatened due to climate change. I found article after article about the subject and I became really fascinated by what I was reading. No, I am not by any means a vino nor do I even really have in interest in learning more about wine. What I found fascinating was the information about climate change and how it was making traditional wine producing areas less viable for high-end grape crops. Wine producers seem to be scrambling to protect their grapes and some have even gone a step further by buying land in non-traditional growing areas. That land, before unsuitable for growing grapes, is now warming up enough to be a viable alternative to regions such as Rhone, Tuscany, Napa Valley, and Bordeaux. Right now, the focus has been on wine grapes because they’re high value and more climate-sensitive than other crops but it’s easy to see how climate change will affect agriculture in general.
With a growing world population that’s estimated to reach between 9.3 and 12.6 billion people by 2100, it’s more important now than ever to find more sustainable methods of agriculture. This is where I believe that drones can play a vital role. I think some people, myself previously included, underestimate the capability of drone technology. It’s not just for taking pretty aerial pictures. There is a real value in the technology that agriculture can benefit from. These days, drones can be equipped with a variety of sensors suited for a multitude of tasks. Want to check plant health or water quality? Use a multispectral sensor. Need to check water temperature and water source? An infrared sensor would be well suited. What about pesticide concentration? There’s a sensor for that too. All of the data collected from these sensors can then help farmers form a better picture of exactly which plot needs what resource and not only can this save time and money, but it can increase crop yields. With a growing population that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, technology such as drones will be integral to preventing global food shortages.