Sunflower desiccation by using agrodrones: experience of Culver Aviation
During September-October this year, Culver Aviation specialists conducted pre-harvest sunflowers desiccation in the Chernihiv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions. This agricultural technique allows to ensure uniform ripening of crops and avoids qualitative and quantitative losses of the crop.
In total, our team has processed almost 1000 hectares within the project. Here is how desiccation allows to harvest more crops, and our experience of using agrodrones for its implementation.
Why do you need to do pre-harvest desiccation of crops?
Desiccation is a procedure of pre-harvest drying of plants to accelerate and even out their maturation, as well as to reduce possible losses due to diseases and pest damage.
In autumn, there are not always favorable conditions for harvesting. For example, when the crop does not have time to ripen, or due to rainy weather, as it was this year, the drying process of plants on the field slows down. It is to reduce the risks associated with the loss of part of the crop due to shattering and the development of diseases, and timely harvesting, enterprises use desiccation. Most often it is used in the cultivation of cereals, legumes, and oilseeds. Desiccation is especially important for harvesting crops with uneven ripening. These include soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower.
Ukrainian agricultural producers most often apply desiccation to sunflower crops. Among other things, pre-harvest drying helps to prevent losses from shedding baskets, helps to stop the development of diseases, and maintains high rates of harvested seeds.
The effectiveness of sunflower desiccation is also evidenced by economic indicators. Thus, if it is carried out correctly, due to the reduction of grain moisture and reduction of contamination, it is possible to save up to 10-15% of the harvest, which is about 3-4 centners per hectare. Sunflower collected after desiccation has a moisture content of 7-9%, so it does not require additional drying, which also avoids additional losses during storage and transportation. And in the conditions of the energy crisis in which our country found itself because of the war, reducing the harvest moisture content of the crop is also an opportunity to save electricity, and gas and help our energy system.
If we add here the advantages of using agrodrones for desiccation, namely the absence of mechanical damage to the crop from wheeled machinery and a reduction of up to 90% of fuel consumption, the profitability of desiccation becomes obvious.
How Culver Aviation performs desiccation
To process the fields, we use professional 20-liter agrodrones of domestic production Reactive Drone Agric RDE616. This copter can lift to 17.5 liters of the product, and in one flight it processes a field of up to 2.5 hectares with a spray rate of 7.5 liters/ha.
Within the framework of the desiccation projects in the Chernihiv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, 2 Culver Aviation service teams were involved, each of which consisted of 3 UAV operators and 3 copters, as well as their vehicle for field trips.
In addition to the economic advantages of using agrodrones, one of the reasons for their choice by farms for desiccation was the difficult terrain of the fields that needed to be treated. With the help of UAVs, it is possible to cover hard-to-reach areas and apply drugs from the air even in difficult conditions, so the relief features of the field, lack of roads, wet soils, etc. are not an obstacle. This allows you to avoid untreated areas and harvest more crops.
Even with significant differences in height, in which the desiccant was applied in the fields of customers, the agrodrones were successfully tested, and our operators gained experience in processing fields with difficult terrain. The feedback we have received from customers indicates the interest of Ukrainian agricultural producers in carrying out desiccation with the help of drones and increasing the volume of work. In turn, we will work to increase the number of hectares that can be processed in one shift.
Recently, Culver Aviation has introduced a team and UAV rental service, which provides for the temporary hiring of a team of Culver Aviation UAV operators to your company for the time you need.
This allows farmers to avoid the risks associated with renting drones and the costs of organizing their department of operators, and instead get a highly qualified team with their equipment and full control over its work. Our company takes care of all organizational and service issues. We also help with obtaining all necessary flight permits. We told more about the service of renting teams and UAVs here.
Do you want to rent a team and UAV or learn more about the service? For all questions, please contact us by phone at 0 800 351 709.