Helicopters help farmers and ranchers survey land

Wichita County out of severe drought conditions but more rain still needed.
Wichita County out of severe drought conditions but more rain still needed.

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The use of helicopters in farming and ranching is not uncommon. It has been going on for more than 20 years in north Texas.

Farmers use the helicopters to monitor crops and survey and herd cattle for hundreds to thousands of acres of their land.

Helicopters are an easier and faster way for farmers to spray pesticides while surveying the land.

"The biggest advantage of using a helicopter is you can [spray] small parcels," David Graf, Texas A&M Wichita County AgriLife Extension agent said.

He said it is also easier for pilots to make turns and control the amount of time they spend spraying pesticide as they hover over the field compared to an airplane.

Andy Anderson is a farmer who said he started using helicopters on his ranch as a necessity to control the wild hog and coyote population on his land.

He wanted to help other farmers so he started an aviation and land degradation company, Executive Outdoor Adventures.

Hunters fly on his helicopters to hunt wild pigs on farmland infested with them.

"[The helicopters are diverse, you can] get down on top of the wild game and flush them out so you can do survey work or find pigs," Anderson said. The wild hogs destroy crops and can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Other farmers use the helicopters to herd cattle some hover from six inches to 50 feet off the ground.

"He can hover without really stressing the cattle and they can get them and train those cattle to walk and head them in the direction they want to," Graf said.

He also said many pilots do not like to fly in certain conditions.

"The wind of course [is a problem] but also around the power lines that's something they are very cautious of that," Graf said. "They are also careful during cloudy and foggy days."

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