Crop Protection Application by Drone: A Q&A with Kray Technologies CEO Dmytro Surdu

January is a busy month for agricultural companies. It’s a month that strong sales can set the mood for the rest of the calendar year, it’s a month full of trade shows, and it’s a bitterly cold month for most of the U.S. One show outside of agriculture that has been on my radar in recent years has been the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. Most of the 180,000 invitation-only attendees will visit the 4,000 exhibitors and talk about 10-foot wide TVs, voice-control bath tubs, smart toilets, and electric cars that will navigate a parking lot when you summon it with your phone.

Interestingly, with every CES there happens to be more and more precision ag professional that attend. While going to this show was not in my budget this year, I did observe this year’s show via the Internet. One company that exhibited and caught my attention was Kray Technologies originally out of Kiev, Ukraine. The company was founded in 2014 with one goal in mind: providing crop protection for growers affordably, conveniently, and on time. How you may ask: by making aerial application of chemicals available to every farmer.

Their answer is the agricultural drone Kray Protection UAS, which is an octocopter with lifting wing and a forward-facing propeller. This hybrid design enables it to have a take-off weight of 77 pounds, which is slightly better than the ones at your local Best Buy. What does one do with all this power? Spray of course! Plug in the twin 16 amp hour batteries, top off the 5.9-gallon (22.33 liter) spray tank and once you take off, the 16.4 foot (5 meter) spray boom folds out. By strictly keeping to a three-foot altitude above the crop, it can apply its payload at 68 mph. With six atomizers capable of a uniform droplet size of 20-100 μm it is able to cover 2.3 acre/minute, which equals almost 37 acres/round. With refills and battery swapping; a one-person UAV team will be able to cover 1,000 to 1,200 acres a day. With a base station in the field it has sub-inch GPS accuracy and has the ability to provide variable rate application of chemicals.

I recently talked with the CEO of Kray Technologies, Dmytro Surdu, about his company and their Protection UAS:

Drone-and-operator-Photo-courtesy-of-Kray-Technologies
Kray Protection drone demonstrates excellent performance of crop dusting while lowering farmers’ expenses.

How will the Kray Protection UAS help farmers compared to a traditional sprayer?
Kray Protection UAS provides the comprehensive replacement to current application techniques, but with 4-10 times lower operation cost, depending on the application scenario. Also, it virtually eliminates yield losses, which are inevitable with the current technologies due to trampling and missing the processed area in drift buffer zones and no-fly zones.

It is inexpensive so it can be purchased by farmers. Farmers are able to operate it at the time they need it without being locked to costly application services purchases.

How easy is the UAS to operate?
Operators select the field border or load the shape file of application prescription, enter the drop size, press the “Plan” button and then just start the mission to automate take-off and operation. Once the tanks are emptied, the UAV returns to the station and makes an automated landing. It is ready to continue the operation after the hot-swap battery replacement and fast-tank refilling.

Nevertheless, that operation requires certified trainings and UAS operator exams passed to comply with the aviation regulations in being able to operate aircrafts manually.

When will this be available for farmers to use?
We are currently selling a limited amount of Pre-Series UAS to farmers, operators, and key partners for pilot projects to be conducted in 2018. The launch of the Series UAS in Canada is planned for the end of 2018.

Besides having a pesticide applicator license, is there any other licenses a farmer would need before they can take off?
In Canada, the UAS operator needs to hold a Special Flight Operation Certificate, which can be obtained in a few months after applying. There are lot of companies which can help to pass the process, such as our partners and customers, and Kray will be happy to help on this matter, too.

In the U.S., the legal framework for the regular operation is to be established in 2019 before the official U.S. launch. Meanwhile, exemptions for the pilot projects can be obtained so our current customers are able to operate for promos and research this year.

What will be included with the UAS?
The UAS includes one UAV with the integrated ground station, which allows it to perform operations with maximum productivity safely.

I hear your company is relocating to California, how has this move gone and how has it benefited your customers?
Actually, Kray is a U.S. company from day one. It is by design that our key markets are markets of North America. We are establishing operation scale in accordance to our development plans. The office in California, among others, will benefit local customers with technical service and fast maintenance as California is one of the most developed agricultural states with high crop protection application needs.

How many units are you looking to ship this year?
We are selling up to 15 UAS for Pilot Projects and dozens in pre-orders after launching in Canada this fall.

What is next for Kray Technologies?
The next goal is to make the Kray Protection technology a key part of the agricultural revolution over the next decade. Reducing the cost of the industrial crop protection application has as much implication on agriculture as reusable rockets has on space exploration and colonization. Potentially, this technology can help increase yields drastically, in dozens of percents.

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21 comments on “Crop Protection Application by Drone: A Q&A with Kray Technologies CEO Dmytro Surdu

  1. Mr.Kotewa;

    Your math is flawed. With a 5.9-gallon tank, the best that can be achieved is about three acres per load, legally and on a very limited basis to stay within pesticide label requirements: 1,200 acres / 3 acres = 400 loads in a day. Unless you have actually loaded ag aircraft and understand how it all works, you would know this is “pie in the sky”, no pun intended. Also, at 77 pounds, the drone has exceeded the legal weight limit. And, the logistics of staying legally within line of sight for 1,200 acres and still trying to achieve 400 loads a day is more pie in the sky.

    Even a small farmer, with only say 100 acres to spray, is going to have a huge drift issue with droplet sizes less than 100 microns. Has anyone even considered a pattern check of the application for quality? Probably not, because pattern checking on a flouroscope string with 20-100 microns is next to impossible. So, now you have a farmer out there drifting pesticides all over the countryside giving the pesticide industry a bad name.

    Until drones can carry 100+ gallons and can work out of line of sight they are useless for applications. That may come to be one day, but there is no demand for it. There are plenty of professional aerial applicators that are more than willing to do the job. Drones are better for monitoring work. Leave the spraying to those who know what they are doing.

    1. Mr. Lavender

      I appreciate your feedback. You are correct that I haven’t operated an aerial spray operation. It was mentioned that a waver to operate in the US would be needed, I went into a bit more detail on this but it did not make the final article. The numbers in the article are straight from Kray Technologies, I am figuring the amazing amount of acres they say it’ll cover are due to application speed of over
      60 mph and limiting the amount of water in the spray tank making the tank last more acres. It seems impossible but what we view as impossible today, will be common place tomorrow. Remember your smart phone has more computing power than the Apollo luner landers, that doesn’t make getting to the moon any easier.

      Again thank you for the feedback.

    1. Gary,

      The droplet size is small but this system is utilizing atomizers instead of normal spray nozzles. This is due to limiting the water in each load. This system will maintain a height of 3 feet above the crop and the droplets will be pushed towards the crop via the 8 props that keep the UAS aloft.

      This data is provided from Kray Technologies and I have yet to see the system in use.

      Thank you
      Ross

  2. Ross Kotewa’s Q&A with Kray Technologies CEO Dmytro Surdu contains several statements about the aerial application capabilities of the Kray Protection UAS and its alleged advantages over manned aircraft that don’t hold up to scrutiny.

    Mr. Surdu contends the Kray UAS “provides the comprehensive replacement to current application techniques, but with 4-10 times lower operation cost, depending on the application scenario.” The operating characteristics described in the article don’t bear this out. For instance, a one-person UAV team is said to be able to cover 1,000 to 1,200 acres a day, yet the UAS has a 5.9-gallon capacity tank that is supposedly capable of covering 37 acres per load. Aerial applications of fungicide on corn are typically made at a spray application rate of 2 gallons per acre (GPA). At 2 GPA, a 5.9-gallon unmanned aircraft system would be able to cover about 3 acres per load, not 37. To achieve 37 acres per load one would need to apply at an application rate of 0.16 gallons per acre. No product registered in the U.S. allows a broadcast application rate, ground or aerial, of 0.16 gallons per acre.

    At 2 GPA, the UAV team’s actual productivity of 3 acres per load is only 8 percent of what the company claims, limiting their daily productivity to 97 acres per day. It is not uncommon for ag pilots to cover hundreds of acres in a single load and treat thousands of acres per day. In many pest control situations timeliness is critical—failing to make an application on time can result in a significant yield loss. Only manned agricultural aircraft have the ability to make those applications in a timely manner.

    Even more problematic, the spray characteristics of Kray’s UAS make it incapable of administering a precise application. The UAS is said to be capable of a uniform droplet size of 20 to 100 microns. Agricultural aircraft have a target droplet size of 300 microns. Consider an average droplet size of 60 microns for the UAS. Using the DRIFTSIM spray drift model from the USDA-ARS and The Ohio State University, a 60-micron droplet with a release height of 3 feet in a 10-mph wind would drift 50.89 feet downwind before evaporating completely, thus not even depositing in the crop canopy. The 300-micron droplet created by the manned agricultural aircraft would only move 1.9 feet downwind and successfully deposit on the target.

    Kray’s CEO also asserts that the UAS “virtually eliminates yield losses, which are inevitable with the current technologies due to … missing the processed area in drift buffer zones and no-fly zones.” There are no exceptions to buffer zones when using a drone. Given the small droplet size used, the Kray UAS would be a much higher risk for drift compared to manned agricultural aircraft. In addition, when considering the droplet size explanation above, the droplet size created by the Kray UAS would virtually guarantee yield loss because very little, if any, of the spray would actually deposit within the crop.

    Mr. Surdu’s statements about the perceived advantages his company’s UAS has over manned aerial applications don’t square with the speed, accuracy, efficiency and economic benefits America’s agricultural pilots provide to their customers, nor with the size and scope of the farms they treat by air.

    Andrew D. Moore
    Executive Director
    National Agricultural Aviation Association

  3. Thanks all for a lot for all the good questions. I structured them as the Q&A extension.

    – Minimal legal application rate in U.S is 2 GPA. How you plan to achieve the productivity you claim?
    The legal requirements always follow the technical capabilities. Kray is conducting several pilot studies with major crop protection chemistry manufacturers. The objective of these studies is to get precise requirements for new labels for 0.5-5 pounds/acre applications.

    – Can deposition and coverage quality be affected with your technology due to smaller application rates?
    Reducing the application rate may not affect the coverage quality, if certain conditions are met. Particularly, 1) median drop size should be reduced and 2) drop size distribution must be narrow to avoid losses in big drops.
    We achieve it with the well-known method of monodisperse atomization created by rotary atomizers, which provide very low VMD/NMD ratio and capability to change the drop size programmatically or maintain it stable during the variable-speed flight.
    The another requirement to achieve the coverage quality is the good canopy penetration. We increase it significantly we apply electrostatic drop charge. As it is well-known, the simple electrostatic charge technique allows to reduce the application rate to 1 GPA and less with the sufficient coverage quality and penetration (e.g. here http://www.agaviation.org/Files/asabe/2016/martin-naaa-2016-aerial-electrostatic-spray-deposition-presentation.pdf).
    Our electrostatic system, though, applies the charge to the already monodisperse spray, which is the unique method in crop protection application. It increases the deposition and coverage of bottoms of leaves due to constant drop mass/charge ratio and our studies show that coverage can be maintained good enough up to 0.2 GPA.
    Therefore statements about the minimal viable application rate for Kray technology of 2 GPA are baseless.

    – Spraying with smaller drops is known to increase drifts. How can you say that you eliminate yield losses caused by drifts?
    First, it worth to note that increasing volumetric mean diameter to 300 microns as the standard practice in ag aviation limits drifts just partially because roughly the half of droplets will be of 150 microns diameter and less due to poor drop size distribution with pressurized nozzles. But while applying aerially with rotary atomizers, the target diameter is always set to less than 200 microns and typically to less than 150 microns.
    In Kray, we are going further though. As it was said, we apply electrostatic charge system which is able to reduce drifts drastically, as small but charges droplets sticks to canopy very fast. There are a lot of ground-based electrostatic spraying equipment which proved the high efficiency of the application with very low drifts while reducing the application volume 90%, especially in Canada and Australia. Just google it for proofs.
    We are also considering certain more complex electrostatic application techniques which are proven to reduce drifts to negligible level in ground-based applications. The studies with label requirements are coming, stay tuned!

    – Small droplets are evaporating fast. How can you even deposit them if the simulation model shows that drop will just disappear?
    It is well-known that evaporation speed can be reduced two orders of magnitude just adding the anti-evaporants and humectants like 0.5% of glycerol or fatty acids. The alternative is the application of oil-based formulations which was long the standard for ultra-low volume applications but is becoming obsolete.
    Also, the deposition time is much shorter that simple model predicts due to electrostatic deposition control. Combined with anti-evaporants, it reduces the evaporation to negligible levels.
    The smallest drop size of 20 microns is mostly designed to use in crop protection but for mosquitoes control over the beaches with pyrethroid insecticides (FFAST technology from Bayer) where Kray can provide the unbeatable performance and cost benefits.
    The minor correction for the mistake in numbers: our available drop size range is 20-150 microns.

    – Your math is flawed. It is impossible.
    We calculate daily productivity on the basis of 10 working hours (this is a deliberately understated estimate, since it is usually available for about 10-12 hours only in the morning and evening on a light day, and in future we plan to add night work capabilities to the computer vision system).
    However, it is common for all competing projects, so for now, let’s take it as a basis.
    The operational coverage speed of the application by Kray UAS (without taking into account the technological operations and turns at cruising speed) is 5 m the coverage strip width х 30.5 m / s = ~ 60 ha / h (~ 150 acres/hour).
    For a typical field of 100 ha, 1×1 km (245 acres, 0.6×0.6 mile), the coming time + return time to the last operating point will be less than 1 minute, taking into account the acceleration and deceleration time (the average distance from the operating point to the station is ~ 0.5 km (0.3 miles), for the DJI this time will be about 3 Minutes, which are included in the technological cycle.For larger fields, the gain before other decisions on the time of approach / departure is still increasing).
    Next, takeoff + landing time is 1 minute max.
    Refill and replace batteries time is 1 minute max (To achieve it, we use hot-swappable batteries and a refilling subsystem with a quick-set hydraulic connector and automatic filling control). Finally, this time will be reduced too.
    In one pass, the drone covers from 3 to 20 hectares (8 to 50 acres), depending on the dosage. Depending on this, the performance also changes. On the flight is spent from 3 to 20 minutes + about 10% turn time (for a field of 100 hectares/245 acres).
    Thus, the average productivity is from 3 hectares / (3 minutes flight + 10% turns + 3 minutes technological cycle) = 28 hectare / hour to 20 hectares / (20 minutes flight + 10% turns + 3 minutes technological cycle) = 48 hectares /hour.
    Daily productivity, respectively 280-480 hectares / day (~700-1200 acres/day).

    – The manned agriculture aviation has indisputable value. How can you say you can provide any benefits for aerial applicators?
    Agriculture aviation is creating the invaluable benefits for farmers. Particularly, the productivity with the modern airplanes are unbeatable and allows to process very large fields in a short time, serving reliably to largest farms in this way.
    Nowadays, there are a lot of new technologies developed which create the changing potential for the old approaches to the spraying applications. Particularly, the Controlled Drop Application utilizes techniques of monodisperse atomization, electrostatic application in the most developed variant, evaporation control. Also, advances in the UAV developments allows to control the aircraft more precise and reach the high coverage speeds within the extremely low altitude flight with the aid of computer vision systems and sensors redundancy.
    Meanwhile, the manned aerial application of pesticides is connected to increased risks for pilots and technicians, particularly of poisoning during the solution mixing and maintenance of systems and flight accidents due to inherently dangerous scenarios.
    We think that new robotic technology will provide a lot of benefits for aerial applicators, particularly due to order of magnitude lower cost, affordability and predictability.

    1. Dmytro,
      Until the US Environmental Protection Agency changes the aerial minimum volume statements on literally THOUSANDS of chemical labels from 2,3,5,10 or more gallons per acre, the statement is not “baseless”, it’s the LAW.
      Can that happen, yes. But not tomorrow or next month or next year.
      You are going about it correctly by getting some of the chemical manufacturers behind you by proving efficacy at lower volumes. You will need their help to go to the EPA for the label changes.
      No matter how great your atomizers are, they will be useless for applying many herbicides that have chemical label language of an ASABE “coarse” droplet criteria. That is, a droplet of between 275-375 microns.
      Your equipment either can create that droplet size, or you can’t apply it currently, period.
      The next place your equipment is non-compliant to chemical label language is for maximum boom length. Most labels these days make a statement of boom lengths not to exceed 75% of wingspan for fixed-wing and 90% of rotor diameter for helicopters. So your extra long boom that extends past the rotor tips is already illegal, or “off label”, for many of the popular crop protection products.
      You make statements about worker exposure with traditional methods. Someone is still going to need to mix and load your drone. And you know what smaller equipment requiring more loads to perform a job does? Provides more opportunities for a loading exposure incident.
      Those are the four biggest flaws I see in your design plan.
      Some other thoughts;
      You know that we have rotary atomizers for manned ag aircraft as well, right? We can do all that as well, but you know why we don’t? It’s illegal.
      You know that we’ve had electro-static spray systems for manned ag aircraft for over 20 years, right?
      You know why they never took off and became popular? Because there are only a handful of products that have a 1 GPA label, and the most popular don’t, so putting them out at 1 is illegal.
      A few other thoughts on productivity;
      No matter what you are dreaming about productivity for a 6 gallon machine, it isn’t happening right now or next year in the US. Because of regulation.
      Many of our applications have a time-sensitive window to get it done. A certain stage of growth, a certain temperature limit, a certain day before harvest, and on and on.
      How do we meet those expectations? Bigger and faster. Not smaller.
      Aside from minimum volume statements on labels, many crops require high gallonage applications due to the cultivational practices of either adding multiple products per application, like 6 or 7, which requires a lot of water to keep them in solution. Or the practice of adding liquid fertilizers to the mix, like GALLONS of it. You may only have 7 ounces per acre of fungicide and 5 ounces per acre of insecticide, but they may want 3 or 5 gallons of foliar fertilizer. That load is going out at 5 or 7 gallons per acre, period. Many tree applications such as almonds and oranges require 10-20 gallons per acre application rate (with atomizers) to provide adequate coverage of 20 feet of foliage.
      In areas that require dry work like seed and fertilizer to fully service the customer, how will you do that? In rice, we seed it and fertilize it. In wheat and potatoes, we fertilize it. Dry work is about two things, cubic feet of capacity, and the ability to haul loads repititiously, period.
      There is a place for small equipment with the rules as they are now, but not in agriculture. In niche market invasive weed control where you don’t bill out by the acre.
      The United States has been good at feeding itself for 80 years now. We have an established set of performance standards expected by customers and an existing framework of regulatory expectations. We are farming bigger, not smaller. 7.4 billion people on the earth and growing, all wanting three meals a day.
      THAT is what you will have to work within.
      You know what would be fun? If a spraying drone manufacturer actually hired someone who knew the application business inside and out to help them design and make legal,or disprove the entire idea, a spraying drone.
      Good luck.

      1. Thank you for the additional questions.

        -What about the fertilization? The dry weight of the annual fertilizer amount is hundred of pounds per acre or more. You will be never able to apply it aerially with your technology.
        The main soil correction domain is out of scope of ultra-low volume technology. Fortunately, the main volumes of fertilization can be applied at pre-seed, seed or pre-emergent stages. The lot of machinery exists for this purposes including the very inexpensive one.
        The problem that apply bigger not means to apply smarter. During the plant growth, it is exposed to different environmental conditions, and so requires different nutrition from time to time. The plant growth regulators especially targets this idea preserving the plant in unfavorable conditions and helping it to grow more in favorable one.
        On the other side, the fertilizers introduced at spring suffers from losses due to microbial activity. That’s why the modern approach is to introduce certain amount of fertilizers post-emergent to be applied directly on the crop canopy (foliar dressing).
        It is known that the best yields gained from the foliar dressing is when it can be applied many times per season, in many studies it is 15 to 20 times with lab-controlled plant tissue nutrients concentrations. It can increase yield to the theoretical maximum (the established recommendations are, e.g. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3791) which is often dozens of percents higher that typical yields and it is a big deal for any farm.
        The amount required for the concentration correction per time are very small though. It most cases, they do not exceed 1-2 pounds of the appropriate nutrients per acre. These micronutrients are basically harmless and can be easily applied with the ultra-low volume technology.
        Kray Protection technology is suited the best for this kind of fertilization application due to high productivity and very low application costs. This way is the only viable way to increase yields in next decades along with the breeding and genetic modifications. That is why specifically our technology is suited for the contribution to the agricultural revolution of next decades, when we have to increase yields to 50-70% in the world average.

        -The statements of your limitations are not baseless, that’s because of laws. We’ve got all that stuff like atomizers and electrostatic chargers and had not been succeeded in changing registered labels. How can you be so sure that you will be more successful in it?
        The every regulation consider two sides of new technology. One is that social benefit technology brings to society. Another side is possible harm. Nothing can be considered outside of this two-side framework, otherwise the huge number of technologies would never be allowed.
        The reason why spraying improvements in manned aviation didn’t work well is that the benefits of reducing the application rate with this techniques serves just for some additional profits for aerial applicators. It is not the very serious reason for the potential risk increase for all farmers and overall society.
        On the other side, Kray technology serves for the whole society as in reduces costs drastically, for any farmer. The medium-size farmer which is struggle to survive now, will be able to make aerial applications safely, timely and at the appropriate cost, while being able to process his field in the limited time window of hours – which is rarely achievable with any kind of service including the aerial one. Kray Protection is changing the game for them.
        There are about 1 million of such farmers in the U.S. and it is much more than the total number of all applicators. Add their families, lifestyle and values. It is the big society itself.
        And, finally. Consider the yield increase from the unlimitedly frequent, timely, and low-cost applications of liquid fertilizers, micronutrients and plant growth regulators which is proven to be of dozens of percents. Even 1% in yield rise can feed 3 millions of Americans more.
        That’s the reasons why we are sure that as soon as thorough UAV-ULV technology development will reduce risks to appropriate and controllable levels, the society will approve it.

        -The United States aerial applicators helped to feed U.S. farms for a dozens of decades. We are farming bigger, not smaller. You doubtly understand the U.S. market needs.
        Kray Technologies Inc is the U.S. company from the day 1 of existence, aiming to bring the value of the new technology to North America markets including Canada and U.S. Kray team was originated in one of the most important agricultural countries of the world – Ukraine.
        In Ukraine, the maximal ag enterprise acreage exceeds 3 million of acres and 50000 acres farm is considered as the small one. That’s why we understand the problems and challenges of the bigger farms well enough (and have a good demand from them).
        Meanwhile, more that half of total U.S. cropland is operated by 100 to 2000 acres farms. The value of the Kray Protection technology for such farms, considering its productivity, is huge – as they suffers from the high input costs and limited yield rise potential the most. The way of becoming the highly profitable is always to be smarter, and we are proud to provide additional capabilities for the grower to implement his potential better.

        -Your UAV is exceeded 55 lbs Part 107 limit. It is illegal to use it.
        The fact is that any UAV operated under the Part 107 cannot be used for carrying the hazardous materials on the board. Similarly, no UAV with detachable payload can be operated in Canada under the 55 lbs exemption. Therefore any UAS for crop spraying should meet the additional regulations including Part 137 compliance or the provided exemption. The weight itself doesn’t make it legal to operate.
        In Canada, the SFOC can be obtained for the operations in matter of months. We are working on meeting the U.S. regulations, including getting 137 333 exemption from FAA before the wide marketing launch in U.S.
        Why don’t you make the bigger UAV if you already have to meet the additional regulations?
        The answer is the costs. Smaller UAV means cheaper one, with the same capabilities. For bigger UAS, the costs of the infrastructure is also rising, making them less suitable for small operators. That’s why it is important to keep things as small as possible while they are still working.
        For sure, we will be not limited to the one model which fits all. Stay tuned!

        -Your technology is imperfect. You are not placing atomizers under your rotors. Your big amount of loads provides the more opportunity for the exposure while mixing and loading.
        Our atomizers are located within the wingspan of the rear wing with the low induced drag, which creates the conditions for the mild downstream for the spray drops.
        The mixing operations are often not necessary at all in the ULV applications as chemicals are applied undiluted. In the case of mixing, just one mixing in the ground station tank with the stirrer is needed and it can be done in the convenient conditions once per field processing.
        The loading of the UAV is performed with the automated zero-leakage system with the reliable hydraulic connectors.

        1. Dmytro,
          It must be the language barrier, because I don’t think you understood much of what I said.
          You just keep moving forward and I’ll keep an eye out for your machine shortly.
          I haven’t seen your 137 333 submitted yet? Do you have it in and how long do you anticipate the approval to take?
          George

          1. George,

            Thank you for the valuable discussion. This last suggestions are doubtfully could be named the questions though.
            Have a good day and the best of luck!

            Thanks,
            Dmytro

      2. “You know what would be fun? If a spraying drone manufacturer actually hired someone who knew the application business inside and out to help them design and make legal,or disprove the entire idea, a spraying drone. Good luck.”– George, thank you for the idea! Could you recommend some people? or you are this “someone”? Thanks! Mark

        1. Generally speaking, any currently licensed aerial applicator that has been doing it for at least 10 years would be a good start. I could be.
          You could also subscribe to Ag Air Update and join the National Agricultural Aviation Association and attend the national convention in December.

  4. One more thing Dmytro,
    Bill Lavender touched on it already. If you are going to design a piece of equipment to be purchased in the U.S., you would be better off keeping it below the sUAS size limit of 55 pounds for ease of your customer’s approval in receiving their FAR Part 137 Operating Certificate which they will need to submit a 333.
    You are causing them a lot of added hardship in approval by having a 77# piece of equipment.
    There is one 137 333 approval for over 55#’s and that’s Yamaha for the RMAX. It took a long time, and a lot of money.
    The only other application for an over 55# piece of equipment that I knew of was NatureChem for a Harris Aerial built machine of similar size to yours. The proposal letter sat in a holding pattern for about a year and a half until they finally rewrote it using a DJI AGRAS after seeing DroneSeed get their approval in about six to eight months.
    If you read through all of the 137 333 approvals and current submittals, you will see that pretty much everyone has keyed in to the fact that if they use a below 55# machine it happens. Above 55#’s, maybe not so much.
    At the very least then, go for something like Yamaha, around 200 pounds gross weight. That way the thing will at least stand a chance of actually producing the numbers you claim per hour because it will haul more.
    So, in the US, either below 55#’s, or as big as you can make it, because approval for that is a chance either way.

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Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in …
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Harvest
Data ManagementAre You Ready for This Year’s Digital Harvest?
August 15, 2018
As the days in the Northern Hemisphere slowly get shorter, they are getting longer in the Southern Hemisphere and everywhere Read More
Wheelman-Pro
Industry NewsAgJunction Expands Automatic Steering Market to Smaller…
August 14, 2018
AgJunction, the autosteering company, has introduced Wheelman, a new way for farmers to automatically and accurately steer farm equipment at Read More
Drip-irrigation
Precision IrrigationFertigation as a Precision Agriculture Tool
August 14, 2018
Fertigation is a fertilizer application method in which dissolved fertilizers are delivered to the crop through the irrigation system. This Read More
Events5 Reasons You Should Attend Growing Innovations
August 13, 2018
The specialty crop market is wracked by unprecedented change: labor scarcity, water shortages, pressing demands for increased quality and transparency Read More
Data Science tablet
Data ManagementMicrosoft, Agile Networks Detail Central Ohio Broadband…
August 9, 2018
Agile Networks, a leading provider of telecommunications solutions, and Microsoft Corp. has announced a new agreement to bring broadband internet Read More
AmericasIvy Tech Opens Center of Excellence to Train Tomorrow&#…
August 9, 2018
Students interested in careers in precision agriculture equipment technology or diesel technology now have the opportunity to pursue certificates, technical Read More
1 On 1 With Paul Schrimpf: Simplot’s Allan Fetters
PrecisionAg InstituteOne on One With Simplot’s Allan Fetters
August 8, 2018
Allan Fetters of PrecisionAg Institute partner Simplot Grower Solutions talks about techology trends and key learnings from the recent InfoAg Conference in this exclusive interview with PrecisionAg's Paul Schrimpf. Read More
Corn field sunset
Industry NewsTrimble RTX Correction Technology Now Delivers Two Cent…
August 7, 2018
Trimble has announced that its Trimble RTX GNSS corrections technology can now achieve horizontal accuracies of better than two centimeters. Read More
Sentera-Gimbaled-Quad-Sensor
Sensors/IoTSentera Gimbaled Quad Sensor Optimizes Crop Health Data…
August 7, 2018
Sentera’s Quad sensor is now available in an integrated gimbal-stabilized package for DJI Inspire and Matrice drones. Featuring four fully-customizable Read More
BigDataSmall2
Data ManagementPrecision Agriculture: A Smaller Approach to Big Data
August 7, 2018
Big data is one of the most buzzed-about concepts in our industry. Rarely do we read a newsletter, attend a Read More
Grower-Retailer
Industry NewsAgworld, K-coe Isom Form Strategic Partnership
August 6, 2018
Agworld and K-coe Isom have announced a strategic partnership that will see them integrating business advisory and technology to deliver Read More
Industry NewsAgEagle Acquires Agribotix
August 6, 2018
AgEagle Aerial Systems has signed an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Agribotix, a Boulder, CO-based drone-enabled Read More
Digital-Farming
Systems ManagementImplementing Digital Farming’s Five Major Needs
August 2, 2018
Building a house starts with a plan and then a foundation; it does not start with doors and windows. From Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
August 1, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
Bruce-Erickson-video
Excellence AwardsPassion for Teaching: Purdue’s Bruce Erickson
August 1, 2018
PrecisionAg Award of Excellence recipient Bruce Erickson is driven to share his knowledge of precision technologies and techniques with students, as well as the larger agriculture community. Read More
Newell-Kitchen
Excellence AwardsChasing the Mystery Behind Soil Variability: Newell Kit…
August 1, 2018
Newell Kitchen of the University of Missouri, recipient of the Legacy award in the 2018 PrecisionAg Award of Excellence program, has worked for decades to employ technology in unlocking the secrets hidden in farm fields. Read More