Effective protection of crops from rodents using UAVs


Mouse-like rodents are one of the most dangerous crop pests in the fall and winter. Inhabiting large areas of agricultural land, they cause significant damage to agricultural production: they damage crop seedlings, eat crops, create mounds of earth that make it difficult to harvest, spread diseases dangerous to humans and domestic animals, etc.

First and foremost, the mouse threatens winter rape and winter cereals. While losses in winter cereals are caused by eating sprouted grain and digging activity of pests, in winter rape crops rodents eat leaves and root system of plants, which leads to a decrease in frost and winter hardiness, reduction of plant density, and crop productivity.

Losses from just one rodent colony can reach up to 100 kg of crop. With 10 colonies per hectare and improper or untimely crop protection, yield losses can reach 5-7%, with a settlement of up to 20-40 colonies/ha - more than 25-30%. This will lead to "gaps" in crops and the need to reseed the damaged areas.

Agricultural losses from mouse-like rodents: 

• damage to winter crops under the snow;
• spread of diseases dangerous to humans and domestic animals;
• creating mounds of earth in the fields, which makes harvesting difficult;
• eating crops and contaminating them with their waste products;
• crop losses from a single colony of mice can reach up to 1 center of the grain.

According to the latest reports from the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, since the beginning of September, the number of mouse-like rodents in the fields has been recorded in most regions, sometimes up to 4 colonies per hectare. It is noted that rodents have been observed to migrate to the carrion of winter cereals and rapeseed in search of green fodder. In the future, the number and harmfulness of rodents in winter crops may increase due to their movement from the areas of other late crops when their harvesting is completed. 

Agronomists note that to prevent outbreaks of mass reproduction of mouse-like rodents, extermination measures should be taken if their population density reaches 3-5 or more colonies per 1 ha of crops. Measures to control the density of mouse populations are divided into preventive and extermination measures.

Preventive measures include timely harvesting and compliance with basic agrotechnical requirements for tillage and sowing (timely and high-quality autumn plowing, crop rotation, weed control in fields and places of rodent reserves in forest belts and on roadsides, etc.) This allows us to deprive rodents of food and reliable shelter.

Extermination measures, in turn, are divided into chemical, physical, and biological. The chemical method of rodent control is based on the use of poisonous baits (rodenticides), the physical method involves the use of mechanical trapping and destruction tools, and the biological method is based on the spreading of grain baits infected with murine typhus bacteria (bactericides).

Unlike other extermination measures, the biological method of control does not pose a danger to humans and the environment and is much cheaper. Its advantage is also its high efficiency - when rodents come into contact with the bait, they become infected by each other, and as a result, the entire colony dies. Also, unlike chemical baits, which must be decomposed as long as the rodents eat them, bactericides are applied only once. This significantly saves money and human resources for application and also allows you to protect crops from field pests on time. 

How to control field pests with UAVs

Modern unmanned aerial vehicles are an effective and flexible tool for solving agricultural problems. In addition to collecting information about the condition of crops and problem areas in the fields, they can also be used to control crop pests, including mouse-like rodents. 

To combat field pests, Culver Aviation uses a UAV Rodent R for its design and production. This is a copter that allows both timely detection of colonies of mouse-like rodents on winter crops and effective destruction of pest colonies 20-30 meters in diameter from their accumulation sites during the winter period to preserve future harvests. 

How does it work?

The Rodent R copter, developed by Culver Aviation, is equipped with a 15-megapixel wide-angle camera that allows you to identify the locations of mouse colonies. The UAV has a hopper for loading 5-7 kg of grain bait (bactericide), which allows one copter to treat 300-400 hectares of farmland during daylight hours.

Depending on the terrain, the work is carried out at a height of 5-15 m and with a width of 5-8 m between passes. Rodent R can reach a speed of up to 60 km/h. The construction of the flight mission for the application is created in advance in the Culver Planner program, and the discharge of grain baits in places where mouse colonies are concentrated is carried out at the operator's command or a pre-planned point.

The main advantages of controlling field pests using the UAV Rodent R:

• efficiency of work within 300-400 hectares per work shift with one UAV;
• mobility and speed of response to requests;
• saving time and materials for pest control; 
• high accuracy and efficiency due to the targeted spreading of baits in places where mouse colonies are concentrated;
• automation of manual labor and saving of human resources for work;
• biological method of pest control that does not harm crops and human health.

Mouse-like rodents are very dangerous pests that cause significant damage to agricultural production, infesting large areas of agricultural land and posing a threat of damage to winter crops, and are also carriers of diseases dangerous to humans and domestic animals.

In the autumn and winter, a large number of rodents on crops can pose a threat to future harvests. To protect crops and prevent the massive spread of pests, it is necessary to take measures to control the density of populations, for which it is advisable to use UAVs. The first field treatment is recommended in the fall, but extermination measures can be carried out in early winter if the field is not yet covered with snow.

Make sure and protect your crops in time! To find out more about the service, please call 0 800 351 709 or leave a request via the form: