Agricultural drones could be dominant by 2025

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In addition to the construction, law enforcement and security sectors, unmanned aircraft are now becoming increasingly popular in the agricultural sector. The trend is illustrated by the fact that, while it is estimated that a few years ago around 80 percent of agricultural companies were averse to the technology, today 80 percent are open to it. The use of these tools in agriculture ranges from multispectral measurements to wildlife monitoring and, depending on the tasks to be performed, the payback time is extremely fast.

Not only is the supply constantly improving, but the expertise required for the technology is also outstanding in the EU. On the other side, demand is also picking up, although the number of tools introduced into day-to-day management is still low.

“The most popular use in agriculture is so-called monitoring. Multispectral measurements can be used to analyse plant conditions, making it easy to detect various diseases. Drone spraying is also becoming more common, with farmers under pressure from weather conditions to switch to this method. In Western Europe, drones are already being used to monitor, count and rescue wildlife, but they can also be used to carry out surveying and field surveys very effectively,” said the managing owner of ABZ Drone.

ABZ Drone said that the technology is accessible to everyone from the smallest agribusiness to multinationals, and that expected tenders could facilitate the development of tools and software. And he believes that everyone will need it, because by 2025 it will be inconceivable to have an agricultural business that does not use unmanned aerial vehicles in some of its operations. Drones are very cheap compared to machines and have a short payback period, depending on the type of work to be done. As an example, it can cost up to €5,000 to treat 100 hectares of fields, but if multispectral measurement shows that it is enough to apply 15 percent of the spray, it can be done for €1,000. The payback time may also depend on the farm manager and how seriously precision is taken.

“A little drone flying can be mastered in a 4-5 day course, but with spray drones it takes 150 active hours to be able to carry out the treatments in a flawless and responsible way. At our company (ABZ Drone), the equipment is only taken over by our customers after training, with practice-oriented training to ensure the best and safest possible flight, also with regard to air traffic,” he concludes. ABZ Drone places great emphasis on ensuring that the right quantity and quality of equipment is available to their partners, but there is a general shortage of stock in Hungary due to dynamic growth in demand. Furthermore, they are able to participate in drone development according to specific needs.

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