Enhancing Productivity of South African Small-Scale Farms with PACSys and DJI Agriculture Drones

In partnership with the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), DJI Agriculture dealer PACSys recently conducted a series of sugarcane ripening trials with DJI Agras drones to assess the economic benefits that would be realized should this technology be made available to the small-scale sugarcane farming sector in South Africa.

Sugarcane holds significant importance in South Africa’s agricultural landscape, playing a pivotal role in rural development and employment generation. The application of chemical ripeners to enhance sugarcane maturity and sucrose content is typically done most effectively and efficiently with aircraft, due to the density of the crop at the time when ripeners are best applied. The financial benefits of sugarcane ripening are significant. Unfortunately, small-scale farmers are often starved of this life-giving service as the typically smaller and sporadically located nature of their farms proves to be uneconomic for the larger commercial aerial applicators to spray.

Fifteen small-scale farmers participated in drone ripening trials across eleven different sugarcane growing regions in South Africa and the results consistently and clearly demonstrated the significance of the financial benefits NOT currently being realized in these communities.

Dr. Riekert Van Heerden, Senior Scientist at SASRI, shared insights into the Small-Scale Growers (SSG) ripener trials, highlighting the positive results seen during the process. SASRI ultimately initiated the SSG ripener trials to highlight and help address the economic disparity between large commercial sugarcane growers and small-scale farmers.

The project has proven that should industry stakeholders organize and get behind an initiative to establish, train and develop drone spraying operations in these communities, they’ll surely unlock significant and badly needed financial gains – enhancing and sustaining local economies for generations to come.

Our thanks go out to SASRI for inviting PACSys to participate in such a meaningful project and to our suppliers DJI Agriculture ultimately for developing incredible products that are facilitating real and important change on the continent that needs it most.

Click here to hear more about the success from the Small-Scale sugarcane drone ripening trials: https://youtu.be/e2EqEILhB68

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