The variety of chemical spraying techniques through drones has been advantageous to agriculture. The tremendous upsurge in the global drone market, especially in the agriculture sector, can simply be estimated from the fact that the global market size of drones stood at $1.1 billion in the year 2022, which is expected to rise up to $7.19 billion by 2032. The rising popularity is not without reason, and is subject to a number of factors.

Problems with old age farming methods and tools

Various problems occurring in the traditional methods of farming, cause a wide array of problems because of which considering drones fit for farming directly influences this sharp increase in their demand for the agriculture sector, globally. Some of the most obvious problems with traditional methods are:

1. Unskilled labourers

Hiring unskilled labourers for farming purposes does not yield productive results. While drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, the farmers can easily employ them for various agricultural purposes like irrigational needs, crop monitoring, pesticide sprinkling, and enhanced precision spraying through which the crop yield increases and the overall productivity gets improved.

2. Induced health hazards due to pesticides and fertilisers

The human contact with pesticides, fertilisers, and other chemicals, also poses a severe risk of simultaneously contacting various health hazards. Cancer of the lungs, problems associated with kidneys, liver, along with other dermatological, gastrointestinal and endocrine problems, can severely affect the lives of farmers.

3. Reduced productivity and efficiency

The usage of conventional tools and farming methods cannot fetch 100 per cent crop yields. Moreover, because of being used since ages down the line, these require greater maintenance and repairs, which adds extra costs in the overall money invested in agricultural farming, without guaranteeing the desirable crop yield.

4. Tormenting environmental health

Conventional farming methods increase land degradation, cause erosion of soil, contaminate naturally occurring resources, elevate greenhouse gas emissions, and so on and so forth. The sum total of all these factors leads to long term problems and associated environmental dangers.

Drones- A better alternative for traditional farming methods

Considering all the aforementioned problems associated with traditional farming methods, the modern means — especially drones — become a favourable alternative. Besides, there are several advantages to using them:

1. Reduces dependence on labourers

With the incorporation of drones in agricultural farming methods, the dependency on labourers, especially the unskilled labourers, gets reduced considerably, which makes farming easier, efficient and hassle free.

2. Limits health hazards

Because drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, they eliminate direct human contact with pesticides and fertilisers. And when this direct contact is disconnected, a number of health hazards that occur due to these chemicals, are curbed by larger extents.

3. Increases crop yield and productivity

Drones are highly precise and accurate aerial vehicles that deliver the farming needs thoroughly well. They can cover large tracts of land with greater efficiency, require less time to perform their job, and do not cause the crop yield to fall out.

4. Lucrative opportunities for pilots

Agricultural drone industry presents lucrative opportunities for drone pilots due to its growing demand, high-paying job prospects, technological advancements, potential for growth, and job security. As the industry continues to evolve and expand, drone pilots who specialise in agricultural applications can expect to reap significant benefits and establish rewarding careers in this burgeoning field

Why go for drone-based spraying?

There are various advantages of getting chemicals sprayed through drones. Some of these include:

1. Precision and accuracy

Drones can spray pesticides and chemicals with greater precision and accuracy, and can simultaneously ensure that no part of the crop field is left unsprayed.

2. Larger coverage of crops

Agrichemical spraying through drones helps in covering the larger tracts of land, in a comparatively shorter time as required by physical spraying.

3. Reduction in water usage

Drone based chemical spraying requires much less amounts of water, since these drones sprinkle a fixed amount of it, uniformly, throughout the crop field, and avoid over spraying at all costs.

4. Time saving

One of the most important advantages of chemical spraying through drones is that it requires much less time compared to physical spraying. Moreover, it eliminates physical stress and strain and makes chemical spraying into the crop fields much easier.

5. Improves crop yield

The overall crop yield increases significantly when the farming needs are looked after by drones. These drones spray chemicals only in those parts of the crop field where they are needed, handle the difficulties of terrain with greater efficiency, and maintain timeliness in delivering chemicals to the crops. All these factors sum up together in the form of improved crop yield.

Who benefits

Drone-based chemical spraying methods benefit the farmers as well as the pilots, in different ways:

1. For Farmers:

a. Saves Time and Water: As drones take an average 8-10 minutes to cover one acre of land, these are time-efficient and can spray larger tracts of land, at much shorter period utilising only 10 litres of water per acre.

b. Requires Less Effort & Labour: As an average drone comes with the capacity of spraying up to 30 acres of land daily, and even covering remote parts of the land, this reduces the physical strain and effort compared to physical spraying methods & significantly reduces the labour required for agricultural operations.

2. For Pilots

a. Career Development: Pilots who operate these drones get a better opportunity to advance their careers in the various opportunities offered to them in this sector. This not only opens doors to better-paying job opportunities but also ensures a more secure livelihood. As demand for skilled drone pilots rises, individuals in this field can anticipate a prosperous career trajectory, with ample prospects for advancement within the dynamic landscape of drone technology and agricultural innovation.

b. Skill Development: Working with state-of-the-art drones enables them to learn the various skills and methods that are needed to handle them better. This allows them to brood and develop the skills, and become adept in handling drones.

For all the above-mentioned factors, considering drones fit for chemical spraying purposes in farming, can be a wise decision. The vista of this agtech solution is wide open and would harness a much wider scope for the farmers to look after their farming needs by the options that it would offer.

The author is CEO of Agri Wings