• Last modified 794 days ago (April 14, 2022)


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a fertilizer drone!

Staff writer

In four to six weeks, Cooperative Grain and Supply’s crop production center in Hillsboro will take to the air — not with airplanes, but with top-of-the-line crop-spraying drones.

Landon Herbel, precision ag specialist for the Cooperative’s crop production department, said the co-op has ordered two DJI Agras T30 drones on order.

The drones, which have six rotor arms, can spray up to 40 acres an hour. According to the manufacturer, the drones have all-direction radar and removable batteries, and can hover as long as 20½ minutes.

Each has a liquid tank and a dry tank for fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides.

Unfolded, Herbel said, the drones are about seven feet across.

“They’re a lot bigger than a regular camera drone,” he said.

Herbel and Chad Arnold will operate the drones. They are working on getting drone licenses. If needed, more people will be licensed to fly the drones.

“We’re selling a service, so we have to get licenses,” Herbel said.

The drones, which hover about 10 feet above the ground, can be used when conditions are too muddy to get traditional equipment into a field. They also will work in areas that ordinarily are hard to reach.

Although the drones fly, they won’t replace airplane crop sprayers that Cooperative already uses.

Herbel said he expected the drones to be used for wheat, corn, and soybean crops.

Last modified April 14, 2022