Naturally Derived Adjuvants for Effective Drone Application

December 2, 2022

Conventional spraying methods, like using a manual knapsack sprayer, is common in Asia due to fragmented land ownership, diverse cropping patterns and labor availability. Asia accounts for 80% of smallholder farmers worldwide with China, India and Southeast Asia accounting for approximately 388 million farms. Many of these smallholder farmers use manual sprayers on their fields, which poses significant challenges to the farmer including, speed (manual spraying covers approximately one hectare per 12 hours), imprecise application and potential health hazards. In addition, farm labor is becoming scarce and expensive. In response, many farmers are turning to newer application methods.

The application of pesticides using drones has become popular in Asia, particularly in China, due to cheaper application cost compared to manual spray, better efficiency (covering the same area 30 times faster than manual spray), improved operator safety, less water consumption and almost comparable efficiency against the manual spray. As a developing technology, drone application can have several challenges including drift to off-target surfaces, stability of the spray dilution at higher concentrations, compatibility of multiple pesticide formulations in a single spray and clogging of the nozzle.