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Farmers seeing benefits of spray drones

The agricultural industry’s use of spray drones continues to expand.

Arthur Ericson, co-founder at Hylio Drones, says the industry is realizing its benefits.

“Applying pre- and mid-season inputs, drones have several advantages.”  He says, “They are much cheaper both to buy upfront and to operate. You use less chemical if you don’t come back to soil, you don’t knock down crops.

Jim Love, light robotics manager with Beck’s Hybrids, says their Practical Farm Research shows spray drones can be a beneficial tool for farmers.

“Equivalent to doing that same job with the ground rig and in some cases perhaps higher and definitely less stress on the crop.”  He says, “And so I think that there’s a place for both groups, but right now we’re just happy that when you look at the data, they’re equivalent to the jobs that they do as far as making sure that we get some of this corn and these crops protected with fungicides and insecticides.” 

Illinois farmer Paul Butler has utilized the technology.

“Kind of gets you thinking maybe in the future that’s something that more farms will have.”  He says, “Like this year when we couldn’t get across the field, if you did have some sort of cover crop issue, you needed to get killed off, that’d be kind of a cool way to do it without getting in there rutting up my no-till fields with a big sprayer.  I can see some uses for it.”

Hylio recently became the first company permitted in the U.S. to operate swarms of three drones with one operator and that could help expand its use. 

AUDIO: Jim Love – light robotics manager at Beck’s Hybrids

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