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29 Feb 2024

Agri Drone Work Rates

AutoSpray Systems Ltd Hall: 2 Stand: 754

We answer the the Number 1 question that every farmer asks. It goes something like this… Wow – that is one big drone, but the sprayer/spreader on my farm is has much more capacity. Now many hectares an hour can the drone do? Well, as you know, 2023 is the first year that the big drones from XAG have been legal to use in the UK and boy, it’s been a busy year. As news travelled that these huge drones could now be used commercially, we’ve had booking from every part of the country. From the north of Scotland, through Wales and midlands, right down to the south coast. So when the good folks at Ashby Farms in Kent called last week asking us to under-sow a seed mix of turnips, radishes and rape into 200 hectares of standing wheat, we thought this would be a good opportunity to see exactly how many hectares per hour the P100 drone could do. As any farmer in the UK will tell you, the last couple of months have been some of the wettest on record and harvest is running very late this year. And the team at Ashby Farms were keen to get some winter feed for their flock of over 900 sheep established before they sent in the combines into the wheat. And, of course, drones are the ideal solution for this. No need to follow the established tram lines, no potential for crop damage, no ground compaction or ruts and no diesel. We were joined by Doug and Sam from Drone Spray Precision who teach the Spray Drone course at Harper Adams University and at 6am on a cool Tuesday morning we got to work. The fields were in a variety of locations and ranged in size from 4 to 40 hectares, so we had a good spread to see how all these factors affected the work rate. By Wednesday evening, as we wrapped up the last few hectares we had plenty of time to get a proper handle on the P100 drones true work rate. On the smaller fields, where we had to relocate more regularly, we were averaging 8 hectares per hour and on the larger fields we were able to easily sustain 20 hectares per hour. As we drove back up the M6, tired but satisfied with how the last couple of days had gone, we all crossed our fingers for one more rain shower that week to get the seeds off to a good start.

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