• Last modified 44 days ago (June 5, 2024)


Drones buzzing over fields

Staff writer

Drones spraying wheat and other crops have become more common in the past couple of years.

Some farmers’ fields have been flown over by drones this past week, although one agronomist speculated that the purpose of the drones at this point in the wheat season could have been photographs instead of spraying.

“I would guess it was probably not to spray it. It would have been to take pictures,” Cooperative Grain and Supply agronomist Jeff Naysmith said. “I would think a month ago, there may still have been some fungicide growing.”

Cooperative launched drones as one of it services two years ago. The service is offered on demand.

“We don’t do a huge number of acres, but we do some,” Naysmith said. “The process is not real fast.”

Drone spraying is slower than spraying in an airplane. A plane can spray a field in about 20 minutes.

“With a drone it will take a few hours,” Naysmith said.

The company has sprayed wheat, pasture land, and alfalfa.

“In a few of the cases they were real little fields that were hard to get in an airplane,” he said.

When a customer wants an airplane to spray, Cooperative arranges that.

In some portions of the county, mainly west of Hillsboro, the wheat crop looks close to harvest. In other areas, it still has green in it.

“It’s getting close,” he said. “It kind of depends what the weather does. If it’s warm and dry, I would think in a few days they would be rolling. I think around here there won’t be much activity until maybe the middle of next week.”

Chris Novak, co-owner of CW Drones, based out of Tampa, said he and his company were spraying at this time,but not wheat.

“We’re actually spraying pasture. That’s basically what we’re spraying right now,” Novak said.

He expects to soon be spraying wheat fields to kill weeds so farmers can go get into the fields.

In August, he expects to be spraying fungicide on corn crops.

Drone spraying is becoming more popular, he said, but it’s taking time because drones are still new.

“We actually got drones and were going to do it on our own operation, and we kind of liked it and do it for aerial spraying,” he said. “We have a spreader box where we can spread seeds. Our drone is probably 8 feet by 8 feet when it’s extended.”

He estimates that wheat harvest is about 10 days away west of Hillsboro.

Last modified June 5, 2024