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Sky-high technology: Middle Georgia farmers use drones to watch over crops

Matt Mackie (WGXA)

PERRY, Ga. -- Middle Georgia farmers are changing the way they keep an eye on their crops as growers go sky-high and high tech.

Neal Montgomery's company, Georgia Geo, uses drone technology to survey crops from above.

He said he spent his youth working on farms throughout the Southeast, but his career went into another direction later in life.

"I spent the last 11 years going overseas working on the drones for the US Air Force, and I figured this is the perfect opportunity to integrate those skills," said Montgomery.

Drones can help out farmers because they're outfitted with special cameras that allow them to gather all kinds of data.

"It allows us to identify problems whether they be pathogens, pests, irrigation problems," Montgomery said.

With drone footage, farmers can see changes in their fields faster.

"By the time a problem shows up in the field to the human eye, damage is well underway," Montgomery said.

Technician Jeremiah Johnson can take information from a drone and make a report for the farmer on-site.

"Within 15 or 20 minutes, we fly. Another 15 or 20 minutes for data processing, after that we're good to go and we hand it to them," Johnson said.

While their drones are on the cutting edge of farming technology, this isn't the first time modern technology has been used to watch fields from above.

"They've been using satellites for a long time to overlook the field and tell them where the bad spots are, but it's way too high, way too up in the air. With us being two, three hundred feet off the ground, we can tell them and pinpoint exactly where they need to go," said Johnson.

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