Farming in times of war: how drones help to harvest more from Ukrainian fields

Despite the difficult 7 months in the conditions of war, industry and business in Ukraine continue to work. An important role in their support belongs to technological discoveries that allow to increase the efficiency of their work even in times of crisis. 

This year, the interest of the agricultural sector in the processing of fields with drones has significantly increased. They can be used for irrigation, fertilization and application of plant protection products, and with the beginning of autumn - also for pre-harvest desiccation of crops. 

Here is how the specialists of Culver Aviation help farmers to process fields with desiccant using copters, and what is the importance of this event for harvesting.

Desiccation using copters - benefits for farmers

Desiccation of crops in the fields in autumn allows to ensure their uniform ripening and significantly speed up the harvest, while avoiding unnecessary losses. The introduction of desiccants has long been actively used in agribusiness around the world, but copters have been used for this purpose only recently.

Zero crop damage

Usually, the spraying of desiccants on crops is carried out using wheeled machinery. Because of this, part of the harvest is lost, because the wheels leave the technological tracks and damage the crops. According to experts, this leads to 10% of losses of the total amount of the crop.

The use of drones for desiccation avoids mechanical damage to the crop in the process of spraying drugs. As a result, farmers will be able to collect more product both for the domestic market and for export.

Environmental friendliness and fuel economy

Another advantage of copters over traditional equipment is their environmental friendliness and reduction of up to 90% of fuel consumption compared to trailed and self-propelled sprayers. Thus, the energy costs for desiccation using drones are on average only a charge of two 34000 mah lithium-polymer batteries.

To treat fields with desiccant, Culver Aviation uses hexacopters, that is, drones with six rotating motors on the body. In one flight, such a copter processes a field of up to 2.5 hectares with a rate of 7.5 liters of the drug per hectare.

The speed of irrigation and the width of the flight depends on the height at which the fields are processed by the copter. For example, at a height of 2.5 m above the crops, it will cover a span of 7.5 m wide. If the height is increased to 3.5 m, the span width will increase to 8.5 m.

The agrodron, which Culver Aviation uses for desiccation, can lift up to 17.5 liters of the drug. This amount is enough to spray about 2.5 hectares of field, and the processing time for such an area will take only 12 minutes. Thus, all lifting capabilities of the copter are used during one flight.

Safe work with hazardous substances

The copter is controlled by an operator during desiccation. His task is to control all processes and ensure the safe landing of the drone on the ground, especially in case of an emergency.

To prevent various kinds of accidents, each copter is additionally equipped with a radar that determines the height of the copter's flight over the crops, and a sensor installed in the front of the device. The latter is needed so that during the flight the drone can recognize possible obstacles and avoid them.

A camera mounted in the front of the drone helps the operator to control the spraying of substances. The image from the camera is instantly transmitted to the remote control. Thus, the operator monitors the height of the copter's flight and all obstacles in real time.

In the process of desiccation using a drone, a person is much less in contact with harmful substances than when using agricultural aviation or traditional sprayers. The copter is usually controlled from the edge of the field, and the operator is exposed to the chemical only when filling the tanks with the preparation. Culver Aviation employees are committed to occupational health and safety, so this part of the job is done with protective respirators, goggles and rubber gloves.

Agrodrones and rational use of resources in times of crisis

The use of agrodrones allows not only to comprehensively treat crops with the necessary plant protection products, but also to rationally use available resources. Also, with the help of copters, farmers get the opportunity to apply the necessary preparations efficiently, quickly and predictably even on fields with difficult terrain.

Pre-harvest crop desiccation is an indispensable measure to facilitate the harvesting process and avoid crop losses. Culver Aviation will be happy to help you with the application of desiccants using its own UAV fleet. For all questions, please call 0 800 351 709.