Story Updated: 13/01/2023

Unmanned Aerial Spraying Systems (UASS) AKA Spray Drones, UAV, RPAS) have been entering the spotlight over the last 5 years. Multirotor UASS systems in particular have been adopted by some farmers and contractors due to some proven capabilities in specific situations.

The growing interest in drones continues and the biggest question from the industry has surfaced as how can landowners and contractors learn to use this new technology legally and effectively.

Pictured: XAG P30 crop protection UAV with R150 Unmanned ground vehicle

Advantages of UASS operations

  • Precision application to a broad range of cultivations. In some scenarios drones have been good follow up treatments to broadacre spraying operations. After a short survey mission, drones can be quickly sent out to target areas to spot spray.
  • Limiting compaction of soil Not driving over the target areas mean that soil is no longer compacted.
  • Dispersal of treatment through dense canopy When used correctly the downdraft from the UASS disperses the product through the dense crop canopy. UASS have also been known to be able to perform effective applications into tree canopy’s due to their downward force.
  • Boggy Water logged surfaces. Traditional ground based equipment can be risky over waterlogged cropping areas after storms or based on crop types such as rice fields. UASS are much more adept for jobs over boggy terrain which can easily bog groundrig equipment.
  • Smaller Farms It is harder for larger sprayers to enter into some smaller paddocks which require treatment, often a separate application type needs to be brought in to get into some hard to cover areas with wider booms.
  • Difficult to access terrain: UASS can apply where ground rig spray equipment is risky or unworkable. UAV have already proven themselves in clearing infestations of Lantana and Prickly Pear as well as some vertical mountain side/Dam face weeds with forward facing application equipment. Traditionally these areas were only accessible by