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Dual-Purpose Drones for Agriculture (agweb.com)
38 points by prostoalex 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments





>“What we can do is spray insecticide right where it’s needed and herbicide right where it’s needed,”

This is the most important part for drone applications in crop management. With multispectral imaging and RTK it's possible to get much more specific about application of various products that were previously applied in bulk to prevent or remedy a situation.

Unfortunately TFA amounts to an advertisement and doesn't have any useful info.


> “What we can do is spray insecticide right where it’s needed and herbicide right where it’s needed,”

And if you remembered where you sprayed it, you can sell a part of your crop at a premium, i.e. as "insecticide-free".



For comparison, the avg piloted spray plane can do about 200 acres/hr, with a running cost of $1200/hr which is $6/acre.

https://www.agairupdate.com/how-much-does-it-cost/

An acre of cash crop is has gross value of $500-700.

https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2018/08/corn-soybean-budge...


The upper value of 12acres/hr for $150/hr translates into $12,5/acre, which isn't too far off for an emerging technology if the value is accurate.

If regulations require pest/herbicide to be below certain concentrations per acre, a blanket application is often insufficient.

Targeted application by drone makes it a) actually work at all under stricter regulations and b) can be placed only on the areas that need it, so it actually is cost competitive with blanket application despite being more expensive per acre.


I will pull up a chair and watch the fields near me get sprayed for an hour. It’s like a free air show.

That said, in ten years this will probably be all drones. The ability to do precision dosing, safely fly a few feet above the target, lower noise, lower capital investment, no need for commercial pilot, little to no overspray, high automation potential, simultaneous high resolution monitoring, etc etc etc.

Big limitation now are the meager payloads and flight times. Drone delivery is going to open up the market for manufacturers to start pumping out drones that meet that demand and it’s going to be mothballs for the old guard in quite a few places.

Hopefully companies like Air Tractor get on board and adapt their product lines, they have way too much valuable experience.


Looks like the thing that makes it economical is the size, at which point the pilot is a small cost.

I'm very surprised these are electric.

I would have thought they would have to be fuel based.

I would have thought electric for information (ie photography) Fuel for the meat world.

The Chinese are electric as well - https://www.xa.com/en/xp2020

I don't get it?




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