Agricultural drones are gradually starting to gain popularity among Russian farmers. We asked representatives of companies selling unmanned aerial vehicles for agricultural purposes to tell us more about this technique.
Roman Nechay, Dron-Agro, St. Petersburg
– Russian agricultural enterprises use drones to survey fields, sow seeds, apply fertilizers, and carry out pesticide treatments. The choice of a specific model depends on the required productivity (how many hectares need to be processed per hour).
At the moment, the agrodrone is more of an assistant to ground equipment, and not its replacement. In particular, the copter provides the possibility of processing in wet weather, after rains - i.e. during the period when the tractor or self-propelled sprayer cannot go into the field. In addition, drones are convenient to use for the processing of tall crops and desiccation.
About products. Our company sells Chinese-made agricultural drones in Russia. According to my observations, Chinese products occupy a large part of this market.
The main advantages of our drones are high performance, strong frame, stable flight, easy operation with Russian-language application on the remote control with screen.
It is enough to select a field in Google maps, and the drone itself will lay a route for spraying or sowing. If the liquid runs out or the battery runs out, the drone returns to the base from where it started flying by pressing one button. Battery replacement or liquid filling/seed filling operation lasts 1 minute. Then, by pressing one button, the drone returns to the point where it left off and continues its mission. Work productivity - up to 28 hectares per hour.
The company's product range includes drones with different tank capacities (from 10 to 70 liters). Models with a tank capacity of 30 liters are more popular, this is a certain standard on the market. In the future, I think larger models will also be in demand, given that some need to process quite large fields.
Several copters can work on the field at once. I will only note that each agrodrone offered by our company is controlled from a separate remote control, this is the decision of the manufacturer.
The drone comes with a charger and a set of batteries that are necessary for continuous operation.
Additionally, the buyer will need to purchase a generator (any desired power). All other equipment (for example, a mortar unit, etc.) is also selected by the customer independently, based on the needs of a particular farm.
Prices. The cost of a drone in our company ranges from 1 to 3 million rubles.
In general, we can say that in recent years the cost of agricultural drones in Russia has been decreasing, and the machines themselves have become technically more advanced. But the market is still being formed. This year, he was strongly influenced by the departure of DJI, this company held a leading position in the sale of unmanned aerial vehicles. Prices for DJI drones, which are imported into our country through parallel imports, are kept at a very high level.
Estimated delivery time. On average, the execution of an order takes 1,5-2 months, this period includes the manufacture of the machine (1-1,5 weeks, since all components are in stock), delivery and customs clearance.
sales regions. The company is located in St. Petersburg, but the bulk of the buyers are from the Krasnodar Territory. I think this is due to the fact that agricultural production is much better developed in this region.
Operator training. We refer all buyers to a partner company that trains drone operators. The course is designed for 121 hours and provides for the acquisition of both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. In particular, teachers explain in detail how to register an agrodrone in the Federal Air Transport Agency and how to complete flight tasks.
By and large, learning how to fly a drone is not that difficult. Anyone who knows how to use a phone on an android will cope with this task quite well.
Service. Our partner company has opened a service center, provides services for the repair and sale of spare parts. If the required part is not in stock, it will be delivered from China in a short time.
Alexey Zakharov, Agrodron-Ural, Kurgan region
– Not every farm today uses agricultural drones in its work. This is a novelty, and not only for our region, but for the whole of Russia. But the novelty is quite promising.
Agrodrone is convenient for solving specific problems: for example, using a drone, you can process crops in the second half of the growing season without crop losses (it is known that the movement of equipment in the fields during this period leads to the death of some plants). Quadcopters easily carry out processing of hard-to-reach areas and territories with difficult terrain.
About products. We offer Chinese-made quadcopters, hexacopters, octocopters and aircraft-type drones to Russian agricultural producers.
The Russian market is generally dominated by Chinese drones, and this is not the situation of the current year. European companies practically do not produce such equipment.
Quadcopters, hexacopters and octocopters differ in the number of propellers, and the more propellers, the higher the flight stability.
The most popular models are with a tank capacity of 30 liters. This is due to restrictions in the legislation (drones weighing over 30 kg must be registered in the same manner as manned aircraft).
Prices. From 300 thousand to 3 million rubles.