Christmas Gift Ideas for the Farm by @TheChadColby

You’ve got all your Christmas shopping finished….except for that one person that seems to be the hardest to buy a gift. They either ‘have everything’ or you’re just not sure what they would truly enjoy. Here’s a list of the top items that are needed/wanted for the farmer, or ag professional, in your life.

Smart Devices: The ag industry favors apple equipment. Phones, tablets, and watches are all smart devices that can be used in many different ways to assist in efficiency. 

Images Courtesy of Apple, iPad Pro, iPhone 8, Watch Series 3, AirPods

Images Courtesy of Apple, iPad Pro, iPhone 8, Watch Series 3, AirPods

The new Apple iPhone X phone was recently released with a faster processor than the iPhone 8 (which has better features than the iPhone 7, and so on.) The iPhone 8 and iPhone X, in my opinion, are very similar and the best for ag use. Keep your phone up to date is important and I would never recommend being more than one model behind. If you have an iPhone 6 or below, it’s time to upgrade. Press Release: The future is here: iPhone X Press Release: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: A new generation of iPhone Prices from $699 (iPhone8) $799 (8 Plus) $999 (X)

Tablets are an extremely valuable tool to have on the farm. From planting corn to flying a drone, tablets can be used for various reasons. The Apple iPad Pro is the ‘big dog’ that I would highly recommend as it’s currently the best quality table ever made from Apple. It comes in two sizes: 10.5’’ and 12.9’’.  Press Release: iPad Pro, in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, introduces the world’s most advanced display and breakthrough performance Prices from $649 (10.5") $799 (12.9")

The Apple Watch just released the Series 3, which includes cellular. This means no matter where you are, getting out of the tractor for a quick minute or sitting at your desk, your cell phone, texts, emails, social media, etc are all on your wrist. This watch also tracks your heart health, at a click of a button it will measure your beats per minute and keep you up to date when your heart rate is too high or too low. In an emergency situation, there is also a quick press of a button to call 9-1-1. A convenient for daily tasks and a safety product all in one. Prices from $329, $399 w/cellular

Apple AirPods Wireless Headphones: With the recent release of new products this fall from Apple came AirPods. These are wireless headphones that work with Bluetooth on your devices. The headphones also have a microphone attached for a clear sound when talking on the phone. Don’t worry about the cord being tangled or not long enough anymore. A charging case is included to ensure they are always ready to go and convenient storage in any bag.

Apple TV 4K:  A product released this fall, the Apple TV 4K creates an easy way to display your Apple device screens to the television while emulating the same quality. The Apple TV 4K also allows you to watch select movies and television shows.   It's the latest item added to my office and I really like it. 

Airport Time Capsule: Another new Apple product, this wireless hard drive allows you to back up memories, projects, etc. The Airport Time Capsule comes in 2TB or 3TB, that’s a lot of memory!  

Image courtesy of FLIR, FLIR ONE and FLIR ONE Pro thermal cameras

Image courtesy of FLIR, FLIR ONE and FLIR ONE Pro thermal cameras

Flir ONE Thermal Camera: This camera is easy to carry in your pocket or backpack to take to the field. The small camera is attached to the bottom of your iPhone and uses your camera to take thermal photos to show the temperature of an object in real-time for data collection and evaluation.   We've used these for a couple years with good success. 

FlyingAg DJI Phantom 4 Pro Kit, Price $2000 +/- 

FlyingAg DJI Phantom 4 Pro Kit, Price $2000 +/- 

DJI Drones: DJI is the top-seller of drones in the world. After flying their drones, it’s clear they produce the highest quality and most trusted products. Drones allow for real-time aerial imagery and it’s without question I would recommend the Phantom 4 Pro. The Phantom 4 Pro includes a 4K camera and 12MP still camera, up to 30 minutes of flight time, indoor and outdoor flying, and with a kit from FlyingAg you’ll also receive a hard shell case to transport it from field to field. 

These drones are the first step so you can utilize new systems like DroneDeploy to help improve farming efficiency all year long on your farm!  Learn more here

If you need to cover more acres, also check out the eBee SQ from SenseFly/Parrot, another great platform.   Learn more here

Here's a complete kit on Amazon for $148. 

Here's a complete kit on Amazon for $148. 

StreamLight Flashlight: The Stinger model flashlights from Streamlight are rechargeable, extremely bright, and durable. These multi-purpose LED flashlights have over 50,000 hours of lifetime! I learned about these flashlights in aviation, and they are also very popular with first responders.

Books

Red Tractor, Red Combines and Red 4WD Tractors all written by Lee Klancher. These table books feature, you guessed it, all red equipment. Within the pages you’ll see the design, build, and transformation over time. Purchase all three as a set or each individual book.

https://octanepress.com/book/red-tractors-complete-set

Stories from the Heartland is an autobiography from Max Armstrong and his testimony of experiences from a young age to his now 40 plus year career in the ag broadcasting industry.  "With a passion fueled by the lessons he learned on the farm, Max has become, as the cover states, one of America's favorite farm broadcasters as he advocates for the men and women who feed the world."

https://octanepress.com/book/stories-heartland  

Video:

Half Century of Progress VII 2017 is now available on DVD. The Half Century of Progress Show is an antique event occurring every two years in eastern Illinois where thousands of antique tractors, corn pickers, steam engines, etc. are showcased in the dirt working ground or in the field picking corn, etc.   

https://tractorvideos.com/products/half-century-of-progress-viii-pre-sale-ordering  

Magazine:

Heritage Iron is a bi-monthly magazine that features antique equipment. Give the gift of a 1 year, 2 year, or 3 year subscription.   I've subscripted to this magazine for years, it's an amazing publication. 

Photo Courtesy of SlashGear

Photo Courtesy of SlashGear

House:

The Nest Thermostat and doorbell are simple devices to keep your home controls at your fingertips through your smartphone. The Nest thermostat allows you to set and change your thermostat through an app on your phone, no matter where you are. It also can track movement to know when you are home, and will automatically adjust the temperature in your home (or any building it’s installed). I’ve personally had the Nest thermostat since they came out in 2011 and would highly recommend getting one. It’s saved me time by changing my thermostat while away from home and money from heating an unattended house.

The Nest Hello doorbell creates a shield of security with a camera to tell you who is at your door. This connects as of wi-fi and send the video to your mobile device where you can talk with the visitor. The camera has a 180 degree view and night vision. You can pre-order your Nest Hello for the arrival in February 2018.

If you have any question please me or catch me on twitter @TheChadColby. 

thanks

"2016 Starting Lineup" for UAS equipment in the ag industry. #colbyagtech #spring2016

There’s no question that Agriculture Industry is getting ready for a real game changing shift in remote sensing largely due to the reliable Unmanned Aerial Systems on the market today.  So many discussions about what the real value of Unmanned Aerial Systems will be to the grower, but honesty for the first time you can begin to see the “varsity” players breaking away in this industry as they are closing in on real solutions beyond the basic scouting solutions.   These companies have systems are currently being used daily around the world.   Over the past several year we got to watch them develop as the industry really begins to take shape. 

Your starting lineup “The Varsity Team”

DJI, in this industry DJI has become the “brand” people most recognize with drones.  With market share over 75% they are the big player and for good reason.   They continue to release amazing products that continue to set the bar for entry level and pro equipment.   We’ve seen the shift from DJI now to new sensors which will provide more value to agriculture. The new partnership with FLIR produced a new thermal camera solution combined with proven DJI gimbal to easily integrate into existing systems (Inspire 1 Platform).   Streaming HD video w/ great range via your iPad screen is amazing and is standard equipment. It should honestly be a must have feature when you consider your purchase.  Latest generation just released raises the bar even higher with great NEW features like:  live object tracking, better flight times, object avoidance and redundant flight systems.   

The best selling drone has been the Phantom Series from DJI.  Photo above a  Flyingag.com Phantom 4 Pro Kit price from $ 2059

The best selling drone has been the Phantom Series from DJI.  Photo above a Flyingag.com Phantom 4 Pro Kit price from $2059

DJI Inspire 1 by FlyingAg.com  flying citrus farm in Central California use the DroneDeploy system. This platform is nice largely due to it's ability to change sensors (like Flir Sensor below) and longer flight times.  It can fly 160 acres use the DroneDeploy system which is perfect in my opinion with current regulations (within line of site).

DJI Inspire 1 by FlyingAg.com flying citrus farm in Central California use the DroneDeploy system. This platform is nice largely due to it's ability to change sensors (like Flir Sensor below) and longer flight times.  It can fly 160 acres use the DroneDeploy system which is perfect in my opinion with current regulations (within line of site).

The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR. It provides high-sensitivity (50mK) infrared scanning at 640/30 fps or 336/60 fps depending on the camera model.  Stabilized and controlled by a custom DJI gimbal, it provides smooth, clear imagery and 360 degrees of seamless rotational movement.

The camera on the DJI Zenmuse XT is developed by FLIR. It provides high-sensitivity (50mK) infrared scanning at 640/30 fps or 336/60 fps depending on the camera model.  Stabilized and controlled by a custom DJI gimbal, it provides smooth, clear imagery and 360 degrees of seamless rotational movement.

DroneDeploy, can’t say enough great things about the steps they have taken over the past year. For entry level users they created a easy one step integration with DJI platforms via an application for your iPad to operation your DJI platform.    The system completely controls the mission, camera and when your flight is complete it will manage your data.     Honestly it’s the best place to get started to understand the process of remote sensing.   Look for more things from them in 2016, currently daily they operate is over 30 countries and have proceeded well over 2 million acres around the world.    They will continue to move this technology forward keep your eye on them.

This is screen shot from Feb 2016 in central California, flown with  Flying Ag's Phantom 3 Pro Kit .  The data from DroneDeploy has lots great information for the grower. 

This is screen shot from Feb 2016 in central California, flown with Flying Ag's Phantom 3 Pro Kit.  The data from DroneDeploy has lots great information for the grower. 

SenseFly, is a Parrot company and they have various platforms but the eBee fixed wing is simply amazing.   It can produce maps easily with it’s intuitive eMotion software which makes it easy to plan and perform you mission.  They also host a complete infield solution if you have limited internet service in the field.  Parrot owns other companies that play a key role in the solution offering like Pix4Dmapper.  For 2016 they have combined the eBee with the NEW Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor.  Sensors are beginning to really develop for UAS use and this sensor is loaded with features, 4 narrow bands, RGP, built in GPS, and incident light sensor to calibrate the data.  Best part it it’s at a VERY realistic price point of $3500. Other side of this new sensor is MicaSense Atlas software which was in use last year and looked very promising.

Holding eBee w/ integrated Parrot Sequoia sensor at 2016 Commodity Classic, March 2016.

Holding eBee w/ integrated Parrot Sequoia sensor at 2016 Commodity Classic, March 2016.

The fix wing platform eBee from SenseFly is one of the most recognized platforms in the world, combined with eMotion software and the Parrot Sequoia sensor it will be very we received in 2016.

The fix wing platform eBee from SenseFly is one of the most recognized platforms in the world, combined with eMotion software and the Parrot Sequoia sensor it will be very we received in 2016.

Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera,  Weighing only 107 grams, Sequoia is a powerful sensor in a remarkably small package. This camera features four narrowband filters optimized for analyzing crop health and a 16 MP RGB imager for easy digital scouting. Sequoia's irradiance sensor and integrated GPS make it an accurate and calibrated tool for precision agriculture.

Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera,  Weighing only 107 grams, Sequoia is a powerful sensor in a remarkably small package. This camera features four narrowband filters optimized for analyzing crop health and a 16 MP RGB imager for easy digital scouting. Sequoia's irradiance sensor and integrated GPS make it an accurate and calibrated tool for precision agriculture.

MicaSense ATLAS™ offers a powerful data service for storage, processing, analysis, and presentation of multispectral data. Using secure cloud-based servers, your raw data is processed into actionable information that can be accessed from any internet-connected device.

MicaSense ATLAS™ offers a powerful data service for storage, processing, analysis, and presentation of multispectral data. Using secure cloud-based servers, your raw data is processed into actionable information that can be accessed from any internet-connected device.

PrecisionHawk, has been one the leading companies in the industry since it’s early beginnings years ago.  They have always been known for pursing the real value from the data.   Great to see them recently roll out another dimension to the information pipeline called Algorithm Marketplace. Called DataMapper, users are able to efficiently turn UAV-acquired geospatial data into actionable insights.   This is the real deal, they are already working with over 60 colleges and universities around the world.   Best part is this DataMapper will accept the data from any platform into it’s Algorithm Marketplace.   Precision Hawk is also developing LATAS (Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety) platform connects leading airspace management technologies, such as sense and avoid, geofencing and aircraft tracking.  Recently they have announced an agreement with Verizon to integrate cellular into this system.  Move in the right direction if you ask me. 

DataMapper from Precision Hawk has one of the best suites of tool to analyze data that is out there.   Upload your images directly to them to get the required results. 

DataMapper from Precision Hawk has one of the best suites of tool to analyze data that is out there.   Upload your images directly to them to get the required results. 

Precision Hawk is also developing LATAS (Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety) platform connects leading airspace management technologies, such as sense and avoid, geofencing and aircraft tracking.

Precision Hawk is also developing LATAS (Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety) platform connects leading airspace management technologies, such as sense and avoid, geofencing and aircraft tracking.

Two new sensors from Slantrange

Two new sensors from Slantrange

Keep an eye on the NEW sensor package from SlantRange, they have the only sensor in the industry that does some processing in flight.   Looking forward to testing this package, which has an in-field processing solution without the cloud. 

Keep an eye on the NEW sensor package from SlantRange, they have the only sensor in the industry that does some processing in flight.   Looking forward to testing this package, which has an in-field processing solution without the cloud. 

Important to do your research, buying products from these varsity players is just smart business.   As the technology changes these products will hold their value MUCH better than anyone else.   They also have the support network and funding to continue developing this technology.  Fact is many growers are moving forward cautiously with these technologies due to so many missed truths.  

Trick moving forward is the actionable data, as we’ve now passed the challenge of remote control flight and now it’s all about the data.   These companies mentioned above are the leaders.   There are others big players in the market that make amazing equipment like: Horizon Hobby, Yunceec, 3DR, Trimble, AerialTronics, & Aeryon Labs but right now I don’t see agriculture as their main stream of business, or at least not yet. 

Needless to say, 2016 looks to bring growers around world more remote sensor technologies  and new software like we have never seen before.   Like many, I personally can't to get flying!    But I also looking forward to watching other companies developing NEW products for ag industry.  

Need information and guidance about using Unmanned Aircraft Systems in agriculture in the United States?  Review the website www.knowbeforeyoufly.org

Thanks, Chad Colby