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Farmer turns need for drones into custom business

A Minnesota farmer that needed more timely spray applications is now helping other farmers solve the same problems.

John Dieball

John Dieball is a farmer and custom drone operator near Henderson, Minnesota.  Dieball tells Brownfield he initially invested in a drone for his own farm because he was having difficulty scheduling pilots to spray crops. “Well, the custom operator that has the plane or the chopper can’t show up in a timely manner and that’s the main reason why I went to what I’m doing, and this cover crop thing is getting to be more and more of just an easier way to get it put on.”

Dieball now flies drones over about a thousand acres a year applying fungicides and cover crop seeding.  He tells Brownfield the drones make it easier to apply cover crops after the primary crop is growing.

Dieball says the sky is the limit for doing custom drone work because there are not many licensed drone operators with the right equipment out there.

For farmers considering their own drone equipment, Dieball says, “Do your research before you buy. There’s a lot more stuff out there that I didn’t realize was out there at first. Keep an eye on your Facebook and that type of thing, and ask questions.”

Dieball spoke to Brownfield during the WPS Farm Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

John Dieball discusses his entry into the custom drone business with Brownfield’s Larry Lee at the 2023 WPS Farm Show

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