The 2022 agro challenges: how drones help to ensure the country's food security

Ukraine is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world: according to the European Commission, it accounts for 10% of the world wheat market, 15% of the corn and 13% of the barley market. Ukraine is also the absolute leader in the production and export of sunflower oil: in 2019-2021, it provided about 50% of the world market. 

Currently, the 2022 harvest is currently in progress in Ukraine in conditions of war. According to the National Bank of Ukraine, about 30% of winter crops are in the area of active military operations or under occupation. As expected in the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the overall decline in production this year will be from 40 to 70%, depending on the product and the situation in a particular region.

Lost storage capacities for agricultural products, mobilization of personnel and vehicles, fuel shortages, mined fields and uncertainty with the sale of future harvest are just some of the problems faced by the Ukrainian agricultural sector as a result of russian aggression. 

Ukrainian agrarians are also anxious about the upcoming autumn campaign and the prospects for the next season: difficulties in harvest sales this year call into question the availability of a financial safety buffer. 

To optimize farming, reduce costs and increase productivity, traditional methods may not be enough. In times of crisis, new technologies that can make field work more operative and efficient come to the front. One of them is aerial monitoring of fields using UAVs. We will tell you how the use of drones in agriculture can help ensure the country's food security.

Exact contours of the fields

Field surveying is a must-have service for every farmer, which, depending on the size of the household and the rate of shareholders' change, should be carried out every year or two. 

According to the experience of Culver Aviation, it is quite common when the areas of leased land and actually used do not match. Incorrect data on the land bank of the farm leads to inappropriate planning of field work and, as a result, ineffective resource management. 

Determining the contours of the fields with the help of drones allows you to identify the difference between the leased areas and the actual cultivated with a centimeter accuracy. Orthophotomaps created on the basis of drone images will also help to determine the condition of the areas under study and the situation inside the field, which is unavailable during the usual inspection: for example, sowing, soaked or trampled areas, places where a mound or ravine has formed, seedlings have not risen, etc. 

We have already described here how the Culver Aviation team accurately measures the fields with the help of UAVs of its own design Skif. 

Having reliable data on the exact area of cultivation will allow you to properly plan the budget for seed, plant protection products, machinery, fuel, etc. and is a necessary condition for the implementation of precision farming. 

Do you want to determine the exact contours of your fields before the start of the new season? Please call 0 800 351 709.

Multispectral photography 

Multispectral imagery is a tool for assessing soil productivity and crop analysis, which allows you to see the details that are inaccessible to human vision.

This monitoring method helps farmers to effectively monitor the condition of seedlings and timely plan fertilization and application of plant protection products (hereinafter - PPP). 

To collect highly accurate data on soil condition and crop health, the drone is equipped with a camera with a multispectral sensor.

The data obtained by multispectral imaging allows to determine:

  • the dynamics of plant vegetation;
  • chlorophyll content;
  • outbreaks of diseases;
  • damage due to frost;
  • heterogeneity of seedlings;
  • soil moisture level, etc.

The analysis of this information allows farmers to register all changes in the development of crops and respond to problems in a timely manner in order to optimize the timing of harvesting, save money on fertilizers and increase productivity.

The application of fertilizers and plant protection products using UAVs

The shortage of petroleum faced by Ukrainian agrarians in spring has increased interest in the use of drones in agriculture for irrigation and fertilization. 

For this purpose, the specialized UAVs are used, and for their effective work, additional parameters are set: height, speed, outflow rate, parallel flight width, etc. 

This method of application has its advantages, as it allows saving resources, while guaranteeing high-quality and operational performance of work. 

For example, the experience of other countries shows that the use of drones for irrigation and fertilization and pesticide application allows

  • 20-30% reduction in the cost of plant protection products;
  • up to 8% increase the yield per hectare due to the lack of technological ways;
  • up to 90% reduction of fuel and lubricants consumption;
  • up to 95% reduction of water consumption during irrigation;
  • optimization of available labor resources.


How Culver Aviation shoots

The Skif drone designed by Culver Aviation manages to cover an area of 1,000 hectares in one flight. Owning the largest UAV fleet in Ukraine allows us to monitor even large areas in a short time, and our own drone production allows us to scale unlimitedly.

All drones of the company are equipped with high-precision 61 MP cameras that create images with a spatial resolution of up to 1 cm per pixel. The dual-frequency GNSS system installed in SKIF ensures high accuracy of shooting.

The Culver Aviation team has experienced operators with real experience in flying drones and its own department of GIS specialists, which allows us to provide our customers with a turnkey service: from data collection to digitization and analysis. 

The role of drones in ensuring the sustainability of agricultural production

Ukraine's economy is suffering huge losses caused by the war. The agricultural sector, unfortunately, is no exception, and suffers from russian aggression almost the most. At the same time, its role is key in ensuring food security - not only for Ukraine, but for the whole world. 

The challenges faced by farmers in 2022 require them to find ways to use resources more efficiently. The use of UAVs helps to automate operational processes and significantly increase production efficiency. 

The use of unmanned technologies in agriculture makes it possible to turn it into an industry where all decisions are made only on the basis of the received and analyzed data. And this is the main condition for ensuring the sustainability of agricultural production, which is now the main priority.