In the long term, every fruit and vegetable grower in the Netherlands will be using a drone to spray crops. That is the conclusion of a study by SEO Economic Research into the potential of drones in horticulture and arable farming.
Remarkably, SEO Economic Research expects that by the year 2050 a total of just 44 drones will suffice to spray the entire area of fruit and vegetables in the Netherlands. According to the researchers one drone could spray 500 hectares
SEO uses assumptions for agriculture that one drone can treat 500 hectares of crops. No distinction is made between different types of crops. No other autonomous treatment methods are included in the calculation either. The total area of fruit and vegetables in the Netherlands is 22,000 hectares. If each drone can spray 500 hectares, 44 drones would suffice for the entire country.
For the entire Dutch agricultural sector, SEO predicts that a total of 1455 drones will be used by 2050. Most drones are needed for land inspection. Approximately 1,000 farms (including fruit and vegetables) will soon have a drone for land inspection. Other companies will rent a drone for this application. These are mainly medium-sized (50 to 100 hectares) and smaller farms.
The use of drones in the Netherlands has increased significantly in recent years. The exact impact of drone use in the Netherlands is still unclear. SEO Economic Research, together with Decisio and To70, was commissioned by the Dutch government to conduct an exploratory study into the potential social and economic value of the Dutch drone market. The researchers used a European study that makes assumptions such as that all fruit and vegetable growers will use drones for crop treatment (spraying) in the future.