Tools & data

Background

Belgium explores use of spraying drones

The Belgian Research Institute for Agriculture, Fishery and Food ILVO, for the first time conducted explorative research with crop protection measurements by drones.

The research was done in cooperation with Noordzee drones and fellow researching company Inagro. The company Noordzee drones bought a DJI Agras MG1 to try it under Belgium and European circumstances. ILVO drone pilots and researchers participate in multiple international research projects concerning precision farming and Inagro adds spraying expertise to the team.

The company Noordzee drones bought a DJI Agras MG1 to try it under Belgium and European circumstances.  Photo: DJI
The company Noordzee drones bought a DJI Agras MG1 to try it under Belgium and European circumstances. Photo: DJI

The companies say they chose to work with a Chinese made drone by DJI as in China and other countries, drones are already widely used from crop protection in wet rice paddocks and in vineyards on step hills.

Requires advanced skills

Elwin Van Herck from Noordzee drones says: “You can hover just 150 cm above the plants and that results in minimal drift. When flying the DJI Agras MG1 spraying drone, I noticed it takes advanced operating/flying skills to fly it. It weighs 23.8 kg when loaded with a maximum of 10 litres of spraying liquid. ILVO has a special permission to use spraying drones on their trail fields as spraying by planes, helicopters and drones is prohibited in Belgium (and the EU).

Jurgen Vangeyte (ILVO): “Drones, with cameras, are part of our research to farm more site and time specific in order to optimise variable and timely application of inputs and water.”

Drone part of 2 projects

The trials with the spraying drone are part of 2 ongoing research projects:

  • The Interreg 2 seas project ICARES that demonstrates to farmers how drones can (possibly) contribute to growing and caring for crops, and
  • The new H2020 network INNOSETA, in which ILVO, together with 8 other partners from 8 European countries, wants to give farmers access to the most modern and advanced precision spraying technology

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