Drones hit new turf: U.S. farmland

Farmers are starting to investigate the use of drones for a decidedly nonmilitary purpose: monitoring crops and spraying pesticides.

As the spring growing season unfolds, universities already are working with agricultural groups to experiment with different types of unmanned aircraft outfitted with sensors and other technologies to measure and protect crop health.

Oregon State University plans to use the unmanned vehicles to monitor the school's potato crop and those of a commercial potato grower. Both crops, located near Hermiston, Ore., are expected to sprout in coming weeks. The university last month ran its first test-flight.

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