Agroscouting and crop protection using UAVs: efficiency and benefits

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles allows timely detection of problem areas on the field and shortcomings in technological operations and is an effective and flexible tool for monitoring crop areas from the air.  

Culver Aviation's experience proves that agroscouting allows farmers to plan field work properly, harvest more crops and avoid unnecessary losses while applying plant protection products (PPPs) using UAVs or agrodrones can significantly save on logistics and increase crop processing efficiency. Below, find out how. 

We have already talked about how drones ensure the country's food security in times of war and help harvest more crops from Ukrainian fields in our previous materials. In the midst of fieldwork, we invite you to familiarize yourself with Culver Aviation's calculations on the effectiveness of agroscouting and plant protection products application using UAVs in the current 2023 agricultural season.

Seedlings, tramlines, inaccurate plot contours, wetting, and other problem areas in the fields can cause losses of up to 5% of the crop. The table below shows the average losses by crop (the impact predicted by Culver Aviation specialists for the current season):

UAVs can be used to monitor the condition of crops, assess their quality, and identify uneven germination and problems caused by weeds, pests, or diseases. Their use is useful and informative at every stage of the crop-growing season.

For example, after overwintering, UAVs allow us to assess the condition and quality of winter crops (uniformity of germination, sowing, frozen areas, etc.). At the initial stages of crop development, drones can detect, localize and identify crop irregularities caused by weeds, pests, or disease infestation. At the stage of crop ripening, UAVs help to identify areas from which to start harvesting. Also, periodic drone flights serve as an additional deterrent to crop theft from the fields and control of hired workers.

The main advantages of UAV monitoring are:

  • visual assessment of the sown area/crop condition;
  • counting the number of plants;
  • clarification of the contour area and field surface;
  • determination of the surface relief and terrain differences for effective budget planning and consumption of agricultural materials;
  • identification of problem areas, their area, and contours;
  • assessment of the quality and condition of the crop;
  • organizing the land bank (ratio of cultivated land to leased land, analysis, and visualization of crops).

UAVs can also significantly save on the application of micronutrients and plant protection products compared to the use of self-propelled and trailed sprayers. Thus, if the cost of using them is on average UAH 830 and 530 per hectare, respectively, the average cost of drone application of plant protection products is UAH 500 per hectare. In the table below, you can see the detailed calculations made by Culver Aviation specialists:

Given the crisis, rising prices of fuel and lubricants and other resources, such savings are quite significant.

In addition, the application of plant protection products by agrodrones has a number of other advantages compared to traditional methods of crop processing:

  1. no trampling and mechanical damage to plants from wheeled vehicles;
  2. saving water, fuel and plant treatment products;
  3. the ability to work on fields with difficult terrain, waterlogged and light peat soils;
  4. reduction of logistics costs for large-sized equipment for processing remote areas;
  5. minimization of contacts when applying agrochemicals;
  6. uniform treatment of crops due to air flows created by the propellers and a minimum droplet size (150 microns).

This is how agrodrones help to solve agricultural tasks throughout the season:

Thus, agroscouting using UAVs allows for quick and accurate acquisition of information from the earth's surface, and the ability to monitor even hard-to-reach areas increases agricultural productivity and minimizes losses from imperfectly performed technological operations. Copter application of plant protection products helps to develop differentiated technologies and reduces the use of pesticides, agrochemicals, and nutrients.  

Culver Aviation's range of services, including the Scythian UAV for agro-scouting and a professional 20-liter agrodron of domestic production, will allow you to successfully deal with challenges throughout the growing season and solve 90% of your agricultural tasks. 

Our company will be happy to provide you with an effective tool for caring for crops from the air using our own UAV fleet. If you have any questions, please call 0 800 351 709.