Drones vs Tractors: Revolutionise your farming with PACSys

There exists a common misconception that drones are only a viable spraying alternative when lands are too waterlogged to use tractor mounted boom-sprayers, or when the traditional aircraft applicators are unavailable.

When carefully comparing the capital, operating, and trampling costs of boom-sprayers to drones – it quickly becomes apparent that drone spraying is an extremely economical method of pesticide application, even in drier conditions, and thus should be taken far more seriously.

Some argue that boom sprayers for example, capable of up to 40-45 hectares per hour coverage rates, are far more efficient than the DJI Agras T40 crop spraying drone (capable of 15 hectares per hour). This is true only when comparing one boom-sprayer to one drone. Drone spraying is highly modular and, considering the significant difference in capital and operating costs between the respective machines (a new drone costs approx. 5% of a self-propelled tractor sprayer), multiple drones can be seamlessly operated to achieve similar (if not superior) coverage rates to that of boom-sprayers, still at a far cheaper cost.

Another factor to consider is that, in a typical season, it will at some point be too wet for a boom-sprayer to access lands for spraying and it thus becomes necessary to hire in an aerial contractor to complete the required application. This service comes at an additional direct cost of around R200-R300 per hectare, which is over and above the already high capital and operating costs of a boom-sprayer. There is also an indirect cost to consider here, which is difficult to quantify, caused by the inaccuracy / drift associated with traditional aerial pesticide application.

The major kicker however when comparing the economic feasibility of boom-sprayers versus drones is that the tyres of boom-sprayers cause trampling damage and soil compaction. This results in crop loss of between 2%-10% (depending on tyre width) – which equates to an opportunity cost of R450 to R2,250 per hectare, when one applies the gross revenue generating potential of maize and wheat crops.

See how we can revolutionise your farming today: https://www.instagram.com/p/C4LK_viN9_8/

To book a consultation with one of our technical specialists and discuss the commercial benefits of drones versus tractor mounted boom-sprayers in more detail, email sales@pacsys.co.za or call 032 330 5009.

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