Cotton Pest Control & Defoliant Operation in Turkey

Cottons grown in sandy soil with little nutrients, cotton easily suffers from malnutrition, causing fragile stem during growth period which will increase the risk of pest attacks. Prior to the harvest date, cotton producers usually apply defoliant to cotton to improve the harvesting efficiency with machineries.

In September, 2022 we went on to two cotton fields in Turkey with local plant protection team to see how different DJI Agras drones solve problems that cottons would encounter during different growing phase. The operation parameters as well as the chemical category and dosage were documented.

Growing phase troubleshooting: stem strengthening & pest control

Credit to SZR Tarım Drone Spraying

The first operation took place on September 28, 2022 in the cotton field of Küçükçıldırın Village in the city of Adana of Turkey.

When arriving at the cotton field, the plant protection team found that the cotton straws were weak and fragile due to lack of potassium. Some pests were also observed on the plants, including helicoverpa armigera (green worm) and gelechia gossypiella (pink bollworm) and Aphid.

Operation Parameters

Type of DroneDJI Agras T30Firmware Versionv.509
Operation modeRoute Op. ModeOperation Speed23 km/s
Operation height (from the top of the crop)3 MetersLine spacing/ width8 Meters
Liquid amount sprayed per hectare 10 LitersNozzle typeXR TEEJET

Chemicals used

Credit to SZR Tarım Drone Spraying
Chemical commercial nameFormulationActive ingredient and the percentageChemical amount (g or ml) used per hectare
Ekvator20 SL Fluent Concentrate Suspension Concentrate88 g/l Mepiquat
Chloride + 22 g/l Cyclanilide
400 ml
Liberator10 EC Emulsion Concentrate100g/1 Pyriproxyfen10 L water and
500 cc chemical
Arrivo20 EL Emulsion200 g/l Cypermethrin10 L water and
1000 cc chemical
Corragen20 SL Fluent Concentrate Suspension Concentrate200 g/l Chlorantraniliprole10 L water and
200 cc chemical
Flash KaliEmulsion ConcentratePotassium Oxide10 L water and
1500 cc chemical

After the operation, pests were eliminated from the plants and the cotton stems have become stronger because of the added potassium. There were no damage on the cotton caused by tractor. As the client saw the effect of the spraying in time, he agreed on the effectiveness of drone spraying.

Mature Period: Bolls Started to Open 7 Days After Defoliant Application

The other operation took place on September 10, 2022 upon a client’s request. The defoliant application was scheduled 14 days prior to harvest, so that the cotton plant flowers would be opened totally and be ready for harvesting.

There were no damages observed on the plants. This defoliant application is made for drying the plant and opening the cottons’ bolls. The bolls on the field were observed to be open about 70% and this defoliant application is made for opening of the remaining bolls.

Before the defoliant application, credit to Çukurova Gübre Tarımcılık

Normal tractor spraying causes damages on the plant and reduces the amount as well as the quality of the harvest. So our client agreed to make this application from the air by drone.

Operation Result

After 7 days from the defoliant application, all the bolls were observed to be opened, leaves were dried and fell down so as a result all plants were ready for harvesting.

Day 7, credit to Çukurova Gübre Tarımcılık

Operation Parameters

Type of DroneDJI Agras T10Firmware Versionv.01.00.509
Operation modeRoute Op. ModeOperation Speed15 km/s
Operation height(from the top of the crop)2 MetersLine spacing/ width4,25 Meters
Liquid amount sprayed per hectare 14 LitersNozzle typeXR TEEJET


Credit to Çukurova Gübre Tarımcılık
Chemical commercial nameFormulationActive ingredient and the percentageChemical amount (g or ml) used per hectare
BaystarDefoliating Agent 10-14 before harvestThidiazuron + Diuron
119.75 + 59.88 g/l
600 ml
ExtangBoll Opener14 before harvestEthephol
720 g/l
2000 ml

Operation Take-away:

We observed a better effect on the plants when spraying at a lower speed and with less concentration of the defoliant per hectare. These operation parameters used were 100% effective on site and on day 14, the client was able to harvest at great convenience.

Case studies were provided by the following plant protection teams:

SZR Tarım Drone Spraying, which conducted the pest control operation, is a family business with lots of knowledge about crops. They have managed to spray about 400ha land in the past two months with DJI Agras T30. The team consists of one pilot, one assistant and one agricultural engineer, and has performed spraying on corn, eggplant, cotton, bean, white cabbage, black cabbage, pepper and lettuce.

Contact person:Ramazan BULUT

Contact info : +90 531 710 60 02

Çukurova Gübre Tarımcılık

Gizem EKINCI – Lezgin EKINCI works as a consulting agency since 2016 in Adana, Çukurova region. The agency has been giving consultancy about Global GAP certifications, quality control management systems, minerals and fertilizers retails and solar power installations. They started spraying applications by drones in 2021. The team is formed by all agriculutural engineers and sprayed 350 ha of fields of corn, cotton and soya from May to October, 2022.

Contact person:Gizem EKINCI – Lezgin EKINCI

Contact info : +90 553 013 99 40


Warn prompt: Τhe content and parameters provided here are just for your reference. You should adjust the operation mode and the parameters and use a correct way to spray your field according to the different weather, the crop characters, the habit or history of using chemicals (you could change other chemicals in case that the resistance occurs), etc. If you are not sure what operation parameters you will choose or not sure about the spraying efficacy, then you should firstly do a small plot test in this field before a big area spray.