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March/April | Saulo Guerra

Investigating the use of Drones for plant protection

Stand Tending

Forest protection

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are compact aerials machines designed to perform various activities. Recently, the use of drones in forestry has increased significantly to monitor and control weeds and pests in planted forests. In this trial a carbon fibre and aluminium body (IP65) XAG drone, model P30 2018 was assessed whilst applying Agro-forest defensive products and vegetable oil for plant protection purposes. The drone weights 15 kg and is capable of carrying up to 12 litres of spray solution. Furthermore, its take-off payload can go up to 33 kg. This unit has 1.9 m × 1.9 m × 0.4 m (length, width and height) with a spray application range of 3.5 m, at a maximum speed of 8 ms-1.

Experiment process and findings
In this case, the efficiency of caterpillar control (E. manuelita) was evaluated by spraying DiPel® (Bacillus thuringiensis 33.6 g l-1) and changing the volume of applied vegetable oil (Natur'l Oil). The experiment was conducted on 2 years old eucalypt plants on flat terrain. The experiment was separated into four treatments: control (DiPel®), DiPel® + 2ℓ of vegetable oil, DiPel® + 3ℓ of vegetable oil and DiPel® + 4ℓ l of vegetable oil. All treatments used the same vegetal oil and 0.75 l ha-1 of DiPel® and a constant flow rate of 10l ha-1. Hydro sensitive papers were positioned at 1 and 2 meters high off the ground and were used to analyze the product's deposition in these locations. The spraying showed good efficiency and coverage up to the lowest third part of the trees. All treatments differed significantly when compared to the control plot.

Other interesting information
This machine is classified as a Level 7 technology according to the Survey of Mechanization Level in Forestry.
For more information, visit: IPEF ; Source of drone image: PCMAF-IPEF