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.
Why would I use a drone to spray my crops?
Spraying by unmanned aerial vehicle provides a host of benefits to the applicator as a result of being able to apply chemical treatments in ways that were previously not possible.
Some of these benefits include:
- Reduced labor costs and CapEx
- Reduced chemical exposure
- Better access to the field at various times during the growing season
- Improved yields
What are the benefits of drone spraying?
Drone spraying is relatively new to the agricultural spraying market. Where Rantizo offers the biggest advantage over traditional methods of crop spraying is in field access and input costs. To read more about this, check out this resource for further explanation.
How many acres can you spray with a drone?
Good question! The answer varies based upon several factors including the label rate of the pesticide being applied.
In general, an off-the-shelf agricultural spraying drone with a 10-liter payload (such as the DJI Agras MG-1P), applying 3 gallons per acre, can cover around 6 acres per hour including refueling time.
Rantizo is currently developing technology and spraying techniques that will enable us to increase those numbers significantly. With our latest upgrades, it is now possible to cover more than 100 acres per day.
Want to be notified when Rantizo enhancements are released? Sign up here.
Are there certain crops that drone spraying works best for?
One distinct benefit to drone spraying is that it is crop agnostic, meaning it truly can be a solution for any crop.
The current technological and regulatory environment is more favorable for high-value, low-acre specialty crops at the moment – think hemp, berries, or anything where the plot size is below 40 acres. Vineyards, greenhouses, and test plots are other opportunities perfect for drone spraying technology.
Drones also provide unique access to difficult terrain and fields where weather conditions or the growth stage might not normally permit. When treatment is most critical, growers are no longer limited to options dictated by heavy or cumbersome equipment.
For high-acre, commodity row crops, spot spraying with a drone is already feasible – and we plan to make full crop coverage a reality in the not-too-distant future.
Can you treat organic crops with a drone?
Absolutely. Organics are another great fit for the benefits provided by drone spraying.
A list of products that can be applied to organic crops can be found here.
So, how do I get started drone spraying with Rantizo?
We’re glad you asked.
In order to legally spray crops with a drone, there are a few important steps you will need to take in order to be properly certified and licensed. Contact us for more detailed information – we are always happy to help walk our partners through the process.
Are there special rules for applying pesticides by drone in my state?
There may be. Navigating the regulatory playbook when it comes to drone spraying can be a challenge.
Rantizo has an open and ongoing dialogue with the pesticide licensing and application authorities in all 50 states. We can provide guidance and the proper contacts in your area in order to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Contact us for information specific to your state.
Can I get insurance coverage for my drone?
Yes. Rantizo has secured coverage for itself and others we work in partnership with.
We are happy to provide access to our network so you know your risk is properly mitigated, allowing you to get down to business. Contact us for more information.
Can I apply anything other than pesticides with a drone?
Yes. There are a number of other uses for an agricultural drone aside from just pesticide application.
Using a granular spreader, you can do anything from applying fertilizer, to scattering grass seed, to dispersing beneficial insects. It has even been suggested that drones could be used as a scarecrow of sorts, frightening away birds and other less traditional pests.
I could get a drone anywhere – why should I buy one from Rantizo?
That’s a fair question. Simply put, Rantizo specializes in agricultural spraying and automation, PLUS we know the ag market.
Our team is hard at work devising technological advances and mechanical upgrades that will allow for increased field coverage, lower input costs, and higher yields while minimizing the negative impacts that traditional spray techniques bring upon your crops.
After your purchase, we will stand by you with technological support, training and customer service that is second to none.
So, what does all of this cost?
As with most equipment purchases, cost is dependent upon your needs.
Once we get to know you and understand your specific operational goals, Rantizo will customize a solution to meet the needs of your business based upon its scale and your budget.
The type of drone, number of batteries and battery chargers, need for additional equipment and upgrades, as well as level of training required will depend upon your individual use case.
How long does a battery last?
- Long ferrying times
- Suboptimal wind direction
- Suboptimal wind speed
- Liquid vs granular application
- Battery age and charge levels
With 2 or 3 of these conditions present, it increases the likelihood of shorter flight times for the drone sprayer.
Does the drone sprayer have a camera?
We are typically asked this question around the context of imagery. While the Agras MG-1P does have a camera, it is a FPV (first person view) camera to aid in visibility during flight.
Our drone sprayer does not have a camera specifically setup for imagery. We integrate with imagery companies instead.
A much smaller drone that is setup to efficiently capture imagery, would be far better suited to accomplish this task.
If you are needing a drone specifically for imagery, you can purchase such tools, like the DJI Phantom 4 RTK or Multispectral drones from Rantizo, as well.
Do I need RTK?
Rantizo has both RTK (real-time-kinematics) and non-RTK enabled drone sprayers to choose from. The difference in performance tends to be at the edge of the field or when doing small research plots.
Ask yourself: Do you need the spray to stop within 3 centimeters of the intended target? Or will 1 meter be sufficient?
If you are looking for highly precise application within 3 cm, an RTK drone sprayer would more than likely be the best option for you.
What kind of weather can you fly a drone sprayer in?
For the most part, drones can fly whenever a crop might need to be treated and in much more adverse conditions than a ground rig or crop duster would allow.
Pilots should avoid flight in heavy rain and extreme temperature conditions, generally below 40° or above 100°.
Common agricultural spraying drones can be flown reliably in winds up to 17mph. However, most pesticide labels restrict application at wind speeds above either 10mph or 15mph, so the drone itself is not usually the limiting factor.
Want to know if you are good to Fly & Apply? Check the UAV forecast here.
Do you have an option to lease or finance your drone sprayers?
Yes, we have both!
Rantizo will work with you to accommodate your particular situation.
Can I hire Rantizo to provide custom application services for me?
We can do that. Rantizo has a network of Application Services Contractors across the U.S.
Drop us a line to discuss your specific application needs and schedule our services.