Posted 12/28/2018 17:57 (#7202604 - in reply to #7201733) Subject: RE: Spraying drones
My bet: Within 5 years, drones will be spraying or doing some type of chemical/fertilizer application on at least 25% of the farmable acres. Now i will not argue that in the big wheat country a large self propelled sprayer with never be replaced, nor will a drone be feasible. But in the upper Midwest where a lot of fields are smaller than 250 acres and rough terrain, they will shine. Let me put this into prospective..... a helicopter/plane to apply fungicide on my corn crop at tassel time cost $25-$35 acre. The cost for me to buy the chemical is $10 per acre. They are making $15-25 per acre to run their machine, the quality of work....awful! Watch from on top of a silo and the missed spots and over run is awful, no precision, just a pilot with brass balls flying under power lines, pushing the stop/go button.
I've been pricing drones for crop spraying for around $26,000 and under. Capable of spraying 33 acres per hr. After talking to the guy he says that 25 acres per hr is easily attainable with refill time and battery swap. That means at $20 per acre it would take 1300 acres to pay for. A large self propelled large sprayer (i have one) John Deere 4830 90 ft booms USED purchased for $100,000, and that sprayer is not tall enough to apply fungicide on my corn crop at tassel time. Lots of moving parts and things to repair and maintenance weekly/monthly/yearly. An old worn out large self propelled sprayer you would be lucky to buy for under $25,000. Drones have a lot less parts and most are plug and play and easy to interchange parts, from the research I've done.
I am in the early stages of research but will be making a week long trip down south in the next month or so to get more in depth and possible purchase and use one as experiment on my farm this year. I plan to document yield response and cost per acre to own one, side by side trials in my fields. I personally feel strong about this new opportunity.
Please critique me and tell me I'm crazy if you want, I take criticism well. I want a good discussion on this... positive...negative...good...bad...ugly... There are pros and cons to every opportunity....