Case Study


Spray Desiccant for Sunflower in Ukraine Using DJI Agras T16

Agriculture in Ukraine is one of the most important branches of its economy due to variety of climatic and demographic reasons. The agriculturally used areas take more than 69% of Ukrainian territory. In 2019 sunflower was grown on the territory of 5.5 million of hectares and was used mostly for the production of sunflower oil. Ukraine is one of the leaders in the production of sunflower oil in the world and this is one of the key export oriented products in Ukrainian Economy. According to the results of 2019, Ukraine ranks first in the world in the export of sunflower oil (4.3 billion USD) and sunflower meal (0,97 billion USD).

DroneUA together with Agrilab at Digitalfield demo field carried out work on desiccation of sunflower by the Agras t16 drone before the actual harvest.

1. Purpose of the Spray 

The purpose of the desiccation work is to dry the weeds, stop the spread of diseases on the crop, such as gray mold, and dry the sunflower before harvest. This procedure was carried out to ensure accelerated ripening of the crop, which made it possible to harvest at an early date.

2. Info of the Environment

Date of Spray21.09.2020LocationBoryspil region, Velika oleksandrivka
Type of TerrainplainTemperature(℃)20℃
Total sprayed Area(ha.)1,5 mHumidity47%
Wind speed(m/s)1m/sWind directionwestern

3. Operation Parameters

Type of DroneAgras t16Firmware Version
Operation modeIntelligent Route planning modeOperation Speed4.2 m/s
Operation height (from top)1.5 mLine spacing/width5 m
Liquid amount sprayed per hectare (or per MU)12 l/haNozzle typeXR11001VS

4. Info of Chemicals 

Chemical commercial nameFormulationActive ingredient and the percentage Chemical amount(g/ml) used per hectare
Defenda Diqalan 

Active Fraction Content Diquat, 150 g/L
Emulsion Concentrate25% Contact desiccant, indications for feeding before harvesting cereals, peas, sunflowers, soybeans and other crops. 
3LThe drug quickly decomposes in the soil, does not affect subsequent crop rotation. Does not affect the quality of seeds, does not change its acid-fat composition

5. Briefly compare the difference between drone, manual, and other traditional equipment.

Comparison with the traditional inspection method:

The task of the customer’s company was to carry out point desiccation at the landfill in 8 different areas of the sunflower field, with a high concentration of the active substance. To perform such tasks, a ground sprayer is often used, but in this case it would carry out desiccation “in a continuous” along the entire perimeter of the field, which would be inadmissible, most of the sprayers would not pass on height crops and the use of more expensive models ground sprayers have made their work more expensive. The aviation method for performing such work also did not fit, for several reasons at once: the location of the field in the closest proximity to the airport, a small area for spraying, using aviation akin to a ground sprayer, can only desiccate around the entire perimeter, incomparably high costs of work. Therefore, in this scenario, it was decided to use the unmanned sprayer Agras t16.

Benefits of using a drone:

The drone will greatly simplify and speed up the task execution time, given proper preparation (namely, having previously prepared data collected using the Phantom 4 RTK drone: the contour of the field and the coordinates of the required areas). It is possible to automatically desiccate in less than an hour. Preparation was carried out successfully in 8 sites, 6 of which automatically and 2 manually due to the fact that the last 2 sections were too small and with automatic introduction the drone did not complete the entire rate, in the new firmware update 02.03.0223 this problem was fixed.

6. Conclusion 

The work has been done. Excellent feedback from the owner of the field was received – the weed on the plots is dry, the diseases are gone, and the sunflower is dried and ready to be harvested. The active substance of the chemical rapidly decomposes in plants, therefore, the use of the drug is safe on seed crops.

Source: DJI Agriculture

Warm prompt: The content and parameters provided here are just for 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.