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UIUC showing off drones and robots helping farmers plant cover crops

The university says the project is still a work in progress.

GALVA, Ill. — Dennis Bowman from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Extension is leading the way for not just one but two ways for farmers to plant cover crops. 

Bowman says the use of cover crops is a concept he hopes will continue to grow among farmers. 

"As we're trying to help solve problems in agriculture, this technology is giving us some solutions that we might not have thought of in the past. The main thing the crops will do is protect the soil in the wintertime," Bowman said.

To protect the soil, Bowman and his team developed a robot and a drone that can help plant cover crops across many acres of land. 

"Both of these give us the option of getting cover crop seed out early, and gives it a chance to get growing early and take advantage of early rains, rather than waiting till after harvest," Bowman said. "We're helping recharge the soil moisture so that we have a better supply in the soil so that if we get into a drought situation there's more moisture in the soil." 

The university says the project is still a work in progress and hopes to continue planting crops in more than one thousand acres of land next year. 

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