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Drone spraying is relatively new to the agricultural industry, and with that comes questions. We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions that we hear when it comes to how the equipment works, what you need to Fly & Apply, and other considerations to think about.

Top Five Questions

1. Is drone spraying legal?

Drone spraying is allowed in the U.S. with proper licensing and certification. These requirements are mandated by both the FAA and state agriculture, business and transportation departments. Additional permission is required by the FAA for carrying hazardous material with a drone, swarming multiple drones, and operating drones over 55 pounds. Rantizo offers comprehensive support and training to ensure your team of pilots is expertly prepared for in-field applications and flying legal at all times.

2. What products can I apply with a drone?

Drones can be used for custom application of a variety of different agricultural inputs (and beyond). If the product label is approved for aerial use, a drone is allowed to apply it as well. Make sure to pay attention to rates and any other special requirements.

Aside from common liquid applications like fungicide and insecticide, drones can also be used to apply granular products like cover crops and micronutrients. Desired application rates are the main detail to pay attention to. Based on your FAA permissions for drone weight, payload capacities may or may not be well suited for efficient and cost-effective application of some dry products.

3. How many acres can a drone cover in a day?

In-field productivity of drones for custom application really depends on a number of variables: pilot proficiency, application rates, drone model, weather, ferrying times, battery charging times and more. Based on extensive testing by Rantizo's R&D team, we have determined that the Agras T30 (the largest approved drone for use in the U.S.) can cover approximately 18 acres per hour at a 3 gallon-per-acre-rate.

4. How much does Rantizo charge per acre for drone application services?

Rantizo applications are provided by our national network of licensed, trained, and insured contractors. Contractors may bill at different rates based on field accessibility, pilot availability, equipment used, etc.

A large majority of Rantizo service providers bill at an hourly rate instead of by the acre. This is to account for setup, mapping and application time. Since drone applications currently work best for site-specific treatments versus full field coverage, hourly billing aligns best as a method of balancing better results for the grower with cost-effective applications specifically when they’re needed and only where they’re needed.

5. How does the Rantizo contractor program work?

Rantizo offers a complete and turnkey system for custom drone application. This includes not just the drone equipment, but most importantly the training to use it safely, state licensing assistance, omni-channel technical and flight operations support, and insurance. We also offer add-ons like our tendering solutions.

To become a Rantizo service provider and part of our national contractor network, purchase one of our business packages for custom drone applications, send your pilots through our comprehensive training program, and you're ready to go!

Application Service Providers

Rantizo knows drones and we know U.S. agriculture.

Our team is consistently pushing the drone spraying industry forward and setting the standards for safe, legal, and productive custom drone applications. 

As our customer, we treat our relationship like a partnership. We aren’t just trying to sell you a drone and let you figure out the rest. We will stand by you with comprehensive training, omni-channel support, continuing education and overall customer service that is second to none.

The best drone for agricultural spraying greatly depends on the needs of your operation. This goes for the number of drones as well. If you are focused on servicing smaller fields, specialty crops, trial plots, or site-specific applications, a smaller drone under 55 pounds may suit you well. As a Rantizo partner you will also have permissions to swarm multiple drones (up to 3) simultaneously, although we generally recommend that you take the crawl, walk, run approach when it comes to drone spraying. If you are focused on larger acres or multiple service locations, a larger workhorse drone such as the Agras T30 may be your best option. The newest or biggest drone isn’t always the best option for your needs. That’s why we have a knowledgeable team ready to learn more about your business objectives and tailor the best solution for you to meet them.

Most often, we are asked this question with the desire to use the drone sprayer for both spraying fields and capturing field imagery and data. Think of this like using a lawn mower vs. a weed whacker. Imagery drones are best designed for capturing field imagery, while spray drones are best designed for spraying fields.

Typically spray drones are equipped with an FPV (first person view) camera. This camera is for pilot visibility of field conditions, flight paths, and drone missions. This camera is not designed for capturing field imagery for NDVI or other data analytics. There are other drones built to be used in tandem with various software programs for this. Rantizo is pleased to offer our contractor network exclusive pricing for Pix4DFields imagery software.

There are several contributing factors to consider with weather conditions most conducive for safe, legal, and productive drone flights. Wind speeds, precipitation, and both hot and cold temperatures can affect a spray drone’s performance.

Windy conditions can impact a drone’s ability to take flight, but can also affect ferrying times to return home for reloading and battery swaps. Keep in mind, that while most of the drones Rantizo offers are able to fly with winds above 20 mph, you’ll want to pay close attention to label restrictions on wind speeds. Typically, a pesticide label will prevent flight due to wind speeds before the actual wind speed itself would.

Spray drones are able to be flown with light precipitation, but where they really add value is in their ability to get into fields just before or directly following heavy rains. This can be greatly beneficial for cover crop applications when seed to soil contact and germination are important or muddy conditions prevent large heavy equipment from accessing fields to address time sensitive weed issues.

Flying your spray drone in cold or hot weather can cause a multitude of different issues. Both can pose safety risks so it is always advised to pay close attention to manufacturer recommended specifications for operating temperatures while also noting ambient temperatures of the equipment itself. For example, a 95 degree temperature may be within manufacturer operating specs, but you’ll want to pay closer attention to the actual temperature of your equipment. Summer heat can cause equipment to overheat, but our support team is well-versed in guiding you through troubleshooting in these conditions.

Drones for agricultural applications offer a new opportunity for ag retailers and agribusinesses looking to stay on the cutting edge of agriculture. Rantizo does not see our drone application systems as a replacement for ground rigs or other aerial application methods like airplanes or helicopters. Instead, we see drones as another tool to add to your toolbox to better serve your customers and optimize productivity. In other words, our drones can get into places that are hard to access with larger equipment, such as field edges, buffer zones or site-specific areas in a field. As a result, we can take care of those areas while other application equipment keeps moving and maximizing productivity in the areas they were designed for.

Rantizo offers a flexible way of doing business together! The majority of Rantizo customers have chosen to partner with us as service providers in their area. To get started as a Rantizo service provider, you would need to purchase your drone package and complete our FAA-approved training and certification process.

We offer monthly training cohorts as well as continuing education to ensure our service providers are well-versed and always up-to-date on safe, legal, and productive best practices for drone spraying.

Rantizo’s industry-leading omnichannel support services are available to both service providers partnering with Rantizo or individuals/businesses who elect to obtain their own licensing or have previously purchased drone equipment from a different supplier.

Rantizo does not currently offer any leasing options. However, we do work with a third-party financing partner and can provide introductions if financing is needed.