Rapid Precision Point Spreading Solution for Rodent Control: Achieve Over 30% Labor Cost Savings and Reduce Material Costs by 33%


The increasing need for food production amidst the adverse effects of climate change poses significant challenges for farmers and agricultural experts worldwide. Furthermore, pests and pathogens are quick to adapt to the altered environmental conditions, making it even more challenging. The common vole (Microtus arvalis) is one such pest that benefits from the changed climate.



The common vole, a petite rodent belonging to the hamster family, has a year-round active lifestyle and feeds on a variety of plant materials without discrimination. This pest is prevalent throughout Eurasia and is commonly found in agricultural areas. Their extensive distribution can be attributed to their remarkable reproductive speed of up to 5-6 generations per year, with an average of 8 individuals per generation.



The Mission: Rapid Control of 43 Rodent Damages on 391,26 ha Field


In 2020, PlantaDrone Ltd's client witnessed a sudden surge in vole population in their winter wheat fields, resulting in an unprecedented migration that caused severe damage to the crop (Figure 3). The client urgently sought a swift solution to minimize economic losses. The conventional method of manually placing rodent control chemicals in vole holes by walking through the fields was deemed impractical due to the massive scale of the infestation (over 39,000 hectares) and the extensive crop damage.


Figure 3: Rodent damage sites’ OSAVI orthomosaic of a winter wheat field.


Planta Drone's partner requested a prompt and accurate drone-based solution for rodent control after the team conducted the first multispectral remote sensing mission with the DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral Drone to assess the severity of the issue. To address this, the Planta Drone team created an algorithm that automatically detects the center of rodent damage sites from multispectral and high-resolution RGB images. These sites are then imported into Terra for targeted spreading. By utilizing the Orchard mode feature on Terra, a 3D tree centroid spreading mission can be easily created and seamlessly imported into the AGRAS drone for efficient operation.


Figure 4: Identified damage centers, and spreading points


Precisely identifying the exact number of damaged sites also helps the landowners to define the exact amount of chemical needs for the protection, which means they won’t have to store leftovers, requiring space, and money spent on it.


Operation parameters:

The rodent control operation was completed by a DJI Agras T16 and a DJI Agras T20.

Type of Drone

 T16 and T20

Firmware Version


Operation mode

 Orchard mode

Operation Speed

 7 m/s

Operation height (from the top of the crop)

 1.5 m

Nozzle type

 Spreader 2.0

Liquid amount spread per hectare

6.65 kg/ha, 

0.27 kg/hole


Chemicals used:

Active ingredient and the percentage

Chemical amount (g or ml) used per hectare



75 mg /kg

 75 mg /kg -> 498,75 mg/ha



The Result: Saving 30% Labor Fee & Over 33% Material Costs


The solution, and application was a complete success. The PlantaDrone team managed to protect even fields over 40 damage sites / ha. (Figure 5.)


Figure 5: Average 43 rodent damage sites / ha


Figure 6: Before & After the Spreading


The team treated a total of 391,26 hectares, with the following results:



Traditional way

Drone based spreading

Planned material (7,37 Euro/kg)

3913 kg (10kg/ha)

2600 kg (6,65 kg/ha)

Number of damage sites

Cannot be told


Labor fee / ha

32 Euros

21 Euros


In summary, the project reached over 30% saving in labor fee, and over 33% saving in material costs, which meant a 35 Euro/ha saving in total. Because of the fast reaction, and precise planning, and spreading, most of the winter wheat plants managed to heal, and regain potential causing a 7,26 t/ha final yield amount.


Case Study Source:

PlantaDrone Research Team

Elemér Szalma, Precision agricultural engineer MSc, Research manager

Szabolcs Gyovai Plant protection specialist MSc, CEO

Bence Szalma GIS expert MSc, Lead pilot.


For more information please visit www.plantadrone.hu, or contact via email: info@plantadrone.hu. or Facebook page: #plantadrone

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