Navigation List

Advantages and Disadvantages of Drones for Spraying Pesticides

Drones are touted as useful flying robotic farmhands in improving crop yields and farm efficiency because they could help farmers get the job done, in theory, improve the precision with which fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are applied. This is due to their ability to carry specific fertilizer or pesticide volumes that follows pre-mapped routes and spray crops accordingly.

In recent years, due to the increasing costs of labor caused by the shortage of agricultural workers, as well as reduced operating efficiency, and due to geographical conditions, manual-work spraying of pesticides destroyed the seedling rate is too high, the spraying effect is not ideal. Therefore, the use of agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles is to solve this series of problems.

Conventional methods of pesticide spray application leads to excessive application of chemicals, lower spray uniformity, deposition, and coverage; resulting higher cost of pesticide as well as water and soil pollution. Apart from these, there will be increased drudgery in field application and reduced area coverage, leading to increased cost of inputs as well as reduced effectiveness in controlling the pests and diseases.

Read also: Pros of Agricultural Drones in Sustainable Food Systems

Keeping in view of these facts, a drone mounted sprayer was developed for application of pesticide sprays on to crops which improves coverage, boosts chemical effectiveness and makes spraying job easier and faster.

Compared to the traditional spraying methods, what are the advantages of using drone to spray pesticides?
  1. Pesticide spraying efficiency is better. Plant protection UAV rotor can produce a large spin force, to promote pesticide droplets on the crops from top to bottom to penetrate, it is conducive to pesticide droplets scattered evenly in all parts of the plant, so that precision spraying in place.
  2. Farmers recently claimed that using sprayer drones reduced the pesticide use on farm by 30% because they can spray to all levels of the crop. This improved efficiency could go some way to allaying fears about the environmental damage that overuse of pesticides and fertilizers can cause, such as reduced biodiversity and the poisoning of aquatic life when chemicals run off into rivers after rain.
  3. Spray more evenly. In the process of pesticide spraying, the UAV to take automatic obstacles to avoid and automatic cruise alarm of the new technology, when the pesticide runs out, drone automatically cruise back to the initial position, after the staff add pesticides, according to the location of the return, back to the previous spray area continue to spray, will not cause repeated spraying and endanger crops.
  4. Operating is safety. Eliminate pesticide poisoning incidents occuring in sprayers.
  5. The agricultural spraying drone, each sort can continuous working 10-15 minutes, every drone single-day operation area is 40-60 acres, pesticide utilization increased by 40% or more, also can save a lot of pesticides and labor cost compared to traditional spraying methods.
  6. The agriculture sprayer drones protect farmers from poisoning and heat stroke, while spraying liquid pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides on agricultural land.
  7. Environmental pollution is severely reduced with the fixed position and orientation method.
Disadvantages of Using a Drone for Pesticide Spraying and its Solution

The application of herbicides and fertilizers in agricultural areas is of prime importance for crop yields. The use of drone is becoming increasingly common in carrying out this task mainly because of its speed and effectiveness in the spraying operation system. However, some factors may reduce the crop yields, or even cause damage because of climate condition, wind intensity and direction, and pesticide deposition while spraying.

The process of applying the pesticides and fertilizers is controlled by means of the feedback obtained from the wireless sensor network (WSN) deployed on the crop field monitoring. The function is to support short delays in the control loop so that the spraying UAV can analyze and process the information from WSN to further route. We can evaluate an algorithm to adjust the UAV route under changes in wind speed and direction. Moreover, we evaluate the impact of the number of communication messages between the sprayer drone and minimize the waste of pesticides.