Drone spraying is relatively new to the agricultural industry, and with that comes questions. We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions that we hear when it comes to how the equipment works, what you need to Fly & Apply, and other considerations to think about.
Top 5 questions
Q. Is drone spraying legally allowed?
A. Drone spraying is allowed in the U.S. with proper licensing and certification. These requirements are mandated by both the FAA and state agriculture and business departments. Additional permission is required by the FAA for carrying hazardous material with a drone and swarming multiple drones.
Rantizo Care Support includes insurance, licensing assistance, billing services, technical support and continuing education to knock down these regulatory hurdles so you can legally start to Fly & Apply right away. Our Certified Training programs for single drone or drone swarming operations will ensure your team of pilots is expertly prepared for in-field applications. We’ve made the entire onboarding process as a Rantizo contractor simple and streamlined to get you in the field fast!
Q. Can I apply anything other than pesticides with a drone?
A. Yes. There are a number of other uses for an agricultural drone aside from just pesticide application.
Using a granular spreader, you can do anything from applying fertilizer, to scattering grass seed, to dispersing beneficial insects. It has even been suggested that drones could be used as a scarecrow of sorts, frightening away birds and other less traditional pests.
Q. How much does a crop spraying drone cost?
A. Rantizo does more than sell drones for your commercial drone-spraying operation; we offer complete, turnkey packages that have everything you need to Fly & Apply. Our Starter Package begins at $47,000 and includes an RTK drone with base station and tripod, Rantizo Upgrade Kit, dry spreader, battery charger, batteries, Mix & Fill Station and industry-leading support and training.
Contact us for more information and we can help you determine the right package for your operation.
Q. How much does Rantizo charge per acre for drone application services?
A. Rantizo does not charge by the acre. Instead we bill at an hourly rate to account for setup, mapping and application time. Since our drone applications work best for site-specific treatments versus full field coverage, hourly billing aligns best with our method of balancing better results for the grower with cost-effective applications specifically where they’re needed and only where they’re needed.
Q. How are drones used in agriculture?
A. Drones can be used in agriculture in many ways — like scouting crops and collecting imagery. Rantizo agricultural drone systems in particular can be used to Fly & Apply liquid and dry inputs — from fertilizer and pesticides to micronutrients and cover crop seeds — with precision.
One benefit of using drones in agriculture is spraying awkward acres traditional equipment can’t reach. Since they can fly up and over difficult terrain, they can access areas around fence lines, waterways, ground contours, trees and more. With drones optimizing in-field operations, the sky’s the limit!
Application service contractors
How many acres can a drone spray in a day?
Based on a 3-gallon-per-acre application rate, and including battery-swap and payload-refilling time, the agricultural drones used in Rantizo’s drone application system with Upgrade Kit can cover an impressive 14 acres per hour, or around 100 acres per day.
With our latest swarming approvals, we can now fly three drones autonomously with a single pilot and visual observer. This greatly increases productivity and allows Rantizo application services contractors to cover even more acres in a day.
Add to that the optimized Rantizo Load & Go Trailer and Mix & Fill Station — and you’ve got yourself one efficient operation.
What is the best drone for agricultural spraying?
Rantizo has elected to partner with DJI as an authorized dealer of their drone products. We use industry-leading DJI Agras MG-1P drones as the foundation for our drone application systems due to their design specificity for agricultural drone spraying. With autonomous terrain-follow capabilities and collision avoidance, they offer the best value and user experience.
As part of the Rantizo drone application system, DJI drones are most efficient when combined with the Rantizo Upgrade Kit, Mix & Fill Station and Load & Go Trailer. Together, these elements work to provide you with a complete system optimized for agricultural drone spraying.
Does the drone sprayer have a camera?
We are typically asked this question around the context of imagery. While the Agras MG-1P does have a camera, it is a FPV (first person view) camera to aid in visibility during flight.
Our drone sprayer does not have a camera specifically setup for imagery. We integrate with imagery companies instead.
A much smaller drone that is setup to efficiently capture imagery, would be far better suited to accomplish this task.
If you are needing a drone specifically for imagery, you can purchase such tools, like the DJI Phantom 4 RTK or Multispectral drones from Rantizo, as well.
How long does a battery last?
- Long ferrying times
- Suboptimal wind direction
- Suboptimal wind speed
- Liquid vs granular application
- Battery age and charge levels
With 2 or 3 of these conditions present, it increases the likelihood of shorter flight times for the drone sprayer.
How does the Rantizo agricultural drone system work together?
From start to finish: Rantizo Load & Go Trailers transport everything you need in the field — drones, batteries, chargers, Mix & Fill Station, spare parts and more. Using crop and field data established by the grower’s agricultural data platforms, you can determine an efficient plan for drone-based input application.
The Mix & Fill Station allows you to precisely meter out chemicals, agitate the solution and quickly fill drone tanks while reducing chemical exposure.
From there, use the drone equipped with the Rantizo Upgrade Kit to Fly & Apply inputs precisely where and when they’re needed. All these system components work together to reduce downtime, improve productivity and maximize in-field operations.
How can drones benefit agribusinesses?
Drones for agricultural applications offer a new opportunity for ag retailers and agribusinesses looking to stay on the cutting edge of agriculture. Rantizo does not see our drone application systems as a replacement for ground rigs or other aerial application methods like airplanes or helicopters. Instead, we see drones as another tool to add to your toolbox to better serve your customers and optimize productivity. In other words, our drones can get into places that are hard to access with larger equipment, such as field edges, buffer zones or site-specific areas in a field. As a result, we can take care of those areas while other application equipment keeps moving and maximizing productivity in the areas they were designed for.
I could get a drone anywhere – why should I buy one from Rantizo?
That’s a fair question. Simply put, Rantizo specializes in agricultural spraying and automation, PLUS we know the ag market.
Our team is hard at work devising technological advances and mechanical upgrades that will allow for increased field coverage, lower input costs, and higher yields while minimizing the negative impacts that traditional spray techniques bring upon your crops.
After your purchase, we will stand by you with technological support, training and customer service that is second to none.
So, how do I get started drone spraying with Rantizo?
We’re glad you asked.
In order to legally spray crops with a drone, there are a few important steps you will need to take in order to be properly certified and licensed. Contact us for more detailed information – we are always happy to help walk our partners through the process.
Do I need RTK?
Rantizo has both RTK (real-time-kinematics) and non-RTK enabled drone sprayers to choose from. The difference in performance tends to be at the edge of the field or when doing small research plots.
Ask yourself: Do you need the spray to stop within 3 centimeters of the intended target? Or will 1 meter be sufficient?
If you are looking for highly precise application within 3 cm, an RTK drone sprayer would more than likely be the best option for you.
What kind of weather can you fly a drone sprayer in?
For the most part, drones can fly whenever a crop might need to be treated and in much more adverse conditions than a ground rig or crop duster would allow.
Pilots should avoid flight in heavy rain and extreme temperature conditions, generally below 40° or above 100°.
Common agricultural spraying drones can be flown reliably in winds up to 17mph. However, most pesticide labels restrict application at wind speeds above either 10mph or 15mph, so the drone itself is not usually the limiting factor.
Want to know if you are good to Fly & Apply? Check the UAV forecast here.
Do you have an option to lease or finance your drone sprayers?
Rantizo does not currently offer any leasing options. However, we do work with a third party financing partner and can facilitate introductions if financing is needed.
We will always do our best to work with you to accommodate your particular situation.
Application service customers
How much does it cost to hire Rantizo drone application services?
When you book a licensed and certified Rantizo application services contractor, you’re getting more than somebody who can fly a drone. You’re receiving the collective knowledge of an entire network of agricultural drone spraying specialists who develop cutting-edge technology for optimized productivity and efficiency in the field.
Cost of services depends on a variety of factors, but is generally competitive with traditional custom application rates. Contact a Rantizo contractor near you for a quote specific to your custom application needs.
Why would I use a drone to spray my crops?
Spraying by unmanned aerial vehicle provides a host of benefits to the applicator as a result of being able to apply chemical treatments in ways that were previously not possible.
Some of these benefits include:
- Reduced labor costs and CapEx
- Reduced chemical exposure
- Better access to the field at various times during the growing season
- Improved yields
What are the benefits of drone spraying?
Rantizo agricultural drone systems offer exceptional versatility, cost efficiency and precision. Leveraging crop and field data established by your agricultural data platforms, our contractors can deliver liquid or dry inputs to your field precisely where and when you need them — resulting in less wasted product and time. In fact, Rantizo can Fly & Apply everything from pesticides to micronutrients, as well as interseed cover crops and even deploy beneficial insects.
Are there certain crops that drone spraying works best for?
One distinct benefit to drone spraying is that it is crop agnostic, meaning it truly can be a solution for any crop.
The current technological and regulatory environment is more favorable for high-value, low-acre specialty crops at the moment – think hemp, berries, or anything where the plot size is below 40 acres. Vineyards, greenhouses, and test plots are other opportunities perfect for drone spraying technology.
Drones also provide unique access to difficult terrain and fields where weather conditions or the growth stage might not normally permit. When treatment is most critical, growers are no longer limited to options dictated by heavy or cumbersome equipment.
For high-acre, commodity row crops, spot spraying with a drone is already feasible – and we plan to make full crop coverage a reality in the not-too-distant future.
Can you treat organic crops with a drone?
Absolutely. Organics are another great fit for the benefits provided by drone spraying.
A list of products that can be applied to organic crops can be found here.
Can I hire Rantizo to provide custom application services for me?
We can do that. Rantizo has a network of Application Services Contractors across the U.S.
Drop us a line to discuss your specific application needs and schedule our services.
Are there special rules for applying pesticides by drone in my state?
There may be. Navigating the regulatory playbook when it comes to drone spraying can be a challenge.
Rantizo has an open and ongoing dialogue with the pesticide licensing and application authorities in all 50 states. We can provide guidance and the proper contacts in your area in order to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Contact us for information specific to your state.
Can I get insurance coverage for my drone?
Yes. Rantizo has secured coverage for itself and others we work in partnership with.
We are happy to provide access to our network so you know your risk is properly mitigated, allowing you to get down to business. Contact us for more information.
How can drones help farmers?
Rantizo’s network of application services contractors are licensed and certified to bring drone applications to the benefit of farmers across the U.S. Drones can offer a new level of precision that simply cannot be found with traditional agricultural spraying methods.
By leveraging a Rantizo contractor to provide drone applications on your farm, you can also save the expense of buying, storing and maintaining large equipment you only use for portions of the season — as well as spending the time or money treating the whole field when spot treatment would be just as effective. You don’t have to have an “all or nothing” strategy any longer.
Using drones for in-field applications also eliminates the danger of compacting soil or damaging late-season crops in your field because they fly up and over the terrain. Drone spraying can even mitigate weed resistance resulting from over spraying, which over time will save you from having to use additional costly chemicals to be effective.