WUWM, Milwaukee Wisconsin’s NPR station published a NPR story on the bumper crop of the US harvest for the 2014 season has driven commodity prices down. Along with a backup of railroad cars to move the harvest, farmer returns will be lower, crops will rot in piles before they can be moved and processed and crop insurance loss reimbursements will rise.
In the US it was a perfect storm of good growing conditions and many crops that are over-planted to make up for expected thunderstorm hail and flooding losses did not appear on a scale to make a difference in the harvest. Income to buy new equipment is down and farmers will be saving and not spending.
For the UAV market, it will make UAVs harder for individual farmers to buy, as it is still in the greater startup phase in the United States, a approach of selling to groups or co-ops of farmers will be a economical approach.
If UAVs can get up across farm fields during the 2016 harvest and beyond, flights will be able to give weekly to daily estimates of crop conditions, also bringing in meteorological data to assist in the growth models, allowing crop insurers and commodity markets to anticipate market movements to minimize costs and allow the farmers to plan their harvest and anticipated crop prices for future budgets. This short term downturn can only lead to improvements in coming years. These techniques can be used in other countries today while the US waits for the FAA to act in September 2015.