This year, in the Samara region, for the first time, a drone sowed several hectares with mustard and sweet clover. It was the first experiment of its kind in the region. The payload weight was 20 kg with a slightly larger mass of the drone itself. federal branch agricultural publication "Vyatka province".
The drone was installed and configured for the experiment by a team of specialists that brought together farmers, teachers and students of the Samara State Agrarian University.
Last year, rice was sown in Krasnodar using a drone. A flooded field with an area of 5,7 ha was chosen for testing. It was impossible to sow rice by hand, so a drone came to the aid of the farmers. It could move freely and qualitatively distribute seeds with seeding rates of 35 and 50 kg/ha.
In the countries of East Asia (China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea), the demand for sprayer drones is growing rapidly. 70% of the areas sprayed by drones in China are occupied by rice, wheat and corn are in second and third place. Drones also process sugar beet, sweet potato and orchards.
In Japan, they have moved even further and are already actively using drones during the sowing season - again, they sow mainly rice.
Over the past few years, the interest of representatives of the agro-industrial complex in unmanned aerial vehicles has grown significantly. Thus, according to analysts, by 2024 the volume of the global market for agricultural drones will exceed $1 billion.
The drone is capable of flying over large areas in a few hours. This allows agronomists to monitor the condition of plants in real time, determine the level of moisture in the soil. Drones with a multispectral camera will help detect areas in the field that are receiving insufficient or excess amounts of fertilizer or water. The principle of operation of a multispectral camera is to capture various spectra of sunlight reflected from the surface of plants.
At the same time, drones are able to work autonomously: the operator just needs to set the route and target on the control panel, and the drone will automatically complete the task. UAVs work on field maps, which means they cannot fly out of the field.
Sowing seeds using unmanned solutions is a relatively new feature of drones. Equipped with special spreaders, they fly over the fields and drop them, along with nutrients, into the soil.
In agriculture, UAVs of the multi-axis helicopter or "multicopter" type have the best prospects. They have a number of technical advantages:
- vertical takeoff and landing without special site preparation;
- high maneuverability and stability, providing high sowing accuracy;
— low accident rate at an acceptable cost.
Their main disadvantage is their low carrying capacity and short flight duration. However, manufacturers are now intensively working to eliminate these problems and offer more and more models with characteristics acceptable for airseeding.
The process of sowing from a drone is usually divided into two stages. First, an accurate field map is made to determine the optimal location for each seed. Then the sowing process is carried out along a pre-created flight path. With this technology, special coated seeds are used, which are coated in layers with special compounds, which include nutrients, trace elements, growth regulators, and in some cases even pesticides that repel pests.
The designs of some sowing complexes involve the use of not only pelleted seeds, but also special capsules that facilitate their penetration into the soil and germination. Also, sowing machines with centrifugal seed spread have recently begun to be introduced.