As the popularity of applying pesticides by UAVs (drones) is increasing at a pace in many countries across the globe, attention is now turning to precisely targeted applications of fertiliser along with micro- and macro nutrients, writes Mick Roberts in an article published by Future Farming.
For precision farmers this really does close the virtuous circle. UAVs can scan the crop, identify and map problem areas and then return with targeted applications of pesticides or nutrients to rectify any deficiencies or treat the disease or pests.
Like spray applications, the limiting factor for fertiliser applications is the UAV’s size and small low payloads. This total weight in the USA, for example is restricted to less than 55lb (25kg) before tougher rules apply. Nevertheless, this still provides plenty of scope for applying macro- and micro-nutrients, explains Bill Reynolds, CEO and Chief Pilot at Leading Edge Aerial Technologies, based in North Carolina in the USA.
“Operating a single UAV is proving to be a suitable way to apply precision applications in locations that are difficult, unsafe or inaccessible to manned aircraft. Indeed, with our application software, we can also identify areas missed by an aerial application and fill in the gaps.
“Application rates are the most important factor that influences the area that can be treated in a day. We find a reasonable rate is between 5-10lbs/acre (5.6-11.2kg/ha), which during the past two years has allowed us to cover 250 acres (101ha) in a day with dry materials,” he says.
Source: Future Farming. Read the full article here
Photo: This Leading Edge Technologies’ PrecisionVision 35X UAS is capable of applying about 250 acres (101ha) of nutrients at an application rate of 5lb/acre (5.6kg/ha) | Leading Edge Technologies