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Is anyone using drones to spray?

Discussion in 'Agriculture' started by dev_willis, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. dev_willis

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    Hi!
    I'm very interested in the idea of using drones, like the DJI Agras models, to spray crops, trees, turf or even lawns. Is anyone currently doing this kind of work? What hardware and software do you use? How reliable is it?
     
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  2. Advexure

    Approved Vendor

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    I know one fella out there that was/is using the Agras MG-1 for crop sraying as he picked it up from us about 6 months ago. Not a unit we're all that familiar with but it uses the regular DJI GO App. Really can't speak for reliability of its functions. Feel free to reach out and we can assist with connecting you with an MG-1 user.
     
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  3. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    The problem with any application like this and using a UAV is you will only be able to cover a small area due to the payload limitations.
    Liquid is heavy!
    Liquid moves around and throws COG off so the aircraft has to compensate meaning shortened flight times.
    Large volume spraying/high delivery nozzles are just not viable.
    UAV's are wonderful tool and can be used for a huge variety of task.
    Sadly, crop spraying isn't one of them!
     
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  4. dev_willis

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    That's interesting. DJI's promotional material claims the MG-1s can spray 2.5 acres on a charge, 60-80 acres in a day. I assume that's under ideal conditions. Obviously large farms aren't going to be very feasible since it would take over 10 hours and 40 batteries to spray 100 acres with a single drone but might there not be a use case for smaller farms and nurseries? Maybe even homeowners with larger yards? The idea first came to me one morning after I'd spent 2+ hours spraying spinosad on the row of cypress trees along my southern border. A drone could have done that in just a few minutes and sprayed the tops where I can't reach too. I do that 2-3 times a year and would do it more if it wasn't so inconvenient. So I really just want one for my own use but I need it to be able to pay for itself lol

    Do you feel like the flight time and payload restrictions are the main obstacles to drones being viable tools for crop spraying? The efficiency and capacity of both the batteries and the motors are getting better all the time. Yahama has been operating the R-MAX, which has a gas engine, 22lbs payload capacity and 1 hour flight time, since the late 90s. Maybe after the technology matures to the point where drones can come closer to that kind of performance it will be more feasible?

    Thanks for the response!
     
  5. BigAl07

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    We flew a knock off/DIY of this unit about 15 years ago and it was amazing! Unfortunately the cost to build and operate was insanely high and the whole system was repair intensive. We spent more time working on it than using it.

    Jon McBride from RMUS has worked with several AG applications and has even developed a drop system recently for dry/granual applications with an M600 or similar platform just in the last few weeks.
     
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  6. dev_willis

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    I've been wondering about that kind of application as well. In my head it seems simple enough. Basically just an electric spreader that also happens to fly. The rotor wash may impact the spread though, especially when low to the ground. Still, it seems like something that homeowners, golf courses, stadiums with real grass, etc. could benefit from. The biggest benefit would probably be to people or businesses with turf that's hard to get to or requires an inefficient path for land-based vehicles.
     
    BigAl07 likes this.