Using drones for vineyard spraying on mountain slopes

BOZON AERO have conducted working meetings with the colleagues from Agricultural Institute of Fondazione Edmund Mach (Italy).

Among the issues addressed were the use of drones for ultra-low volume spraying of vineyards in Italy, potential advantages ща drone sprayers as well as current technological and legal restrictions.

BOZON AERO has presented its Drone Prayer WASP capable of high precision express spraying of vineyards and orchards. The colleagues from Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM) expressed a high interest in spraying using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The specificity of region Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol, where FEM is located, is that almost all available land in the mountains are used for grape and apple growing, and the vineyards and orchards are often placed on steep terraced slopes. Tractor sprayers cannot reach these areas and the spraying is done manually. Such an approach has low productivity of labor and presents a risk for people’s health. Autonomous drone sprayers seem to be an almost optimal solution to the problem of plant treatment on mountain slopes.

FEM Technology Transfer Centre’s Dr. Melissa Scomegna and Dr. Fabio Zottele have shown to BOZON AERO’s Dr. Alexander Toskin and Dr. Evgeny Savin the vineyards on mountain slopes, where such sorts of wine grape as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and others are grown. The inspection of vineyards on the mountain slopes showed that the spraying problem is really a major one. Both sides agreed that drone sprayers are an optimal solution if proper ultra-low volume pesticides are used.

As a result of the working meetings, FEM and BOZON AERO are preparing a joint publication and develop a plan for experimental tests of drone sprayers for the treatment of mountain vineyards in Italy.

The Edmund Mach Foundation (Fondazione Edmund Mach), formerly the Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige (IASMA), is an agrarian institution and wine academy located in Trentino in north-east Italy. Its mission today is to provide agricultural education, training and consultancy, and to conduct research and experimentation with the aim of "promoting cultural and socio-economic growth in the agricultural sector and at developing the forestry and agro-alimentary systems, with particular regard for the environment and the safeguard of the territory of the Trentino region". There is also a farm, devoted to grape and apple production, a wine cellar and a distillery.

Technology Transfer Centre within FEM provides applied research and experimentation and services and advisory system for the agricultural, forestry and environmental sectors. The key elements in the centre’s activities are anticipation of the needs of the area, understanding problems, studying solutions and disseminating knowledge in order to maintain high production quality while respecting the environment.

BOZON-AERO

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Drone sprayer WASP has been developed with the support of Foundation for the Assistance of Small Innovative Enterprises in the framework of NTI Aeronet initiative.