Drone Application in Banana Cultivation

BananaDJI AGRAS T40

 

Bananas, a significant tropical fruit, are cultivated and enjoyed worldwide, predominantly in tropical and subtropical regions. Key growing regions include Latin America, with countries like Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia; Asia, with the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam; and Africa, with Tanzania and Angola leading the way. These regions offer the ideal climate for banana growth, but also attract pests and diseases, affecting yield and quality. Consequently, farmers have been exploring more efficient ways to safeguard the plants and enhance their yield and quality. The incorporation of drone technology into the banana industry has proven to be remarkably successful.

 

agriculture drone solution

Image courtesy of AGS.

 

Why Agriculture Drones?

 

Efficient spraying can effectively control pest and disease outbreak.

In tropical nations like Vietnam, the banana growth cycle is heavily influenced by the rainy season which constitutes half of its development period. This climatic condition often triggers substantial pest infestations. Ensuring short intervals without rain is crucial for timely application of fungicides and pesticides, an action that significantly affects banana yields. If pests are not addressed within this critical timeframe, there could be a drastic plunge in production.

 

Drones, particularly the T40 model, offer significant advantages in terms of efficiency for pest control measures. To put it into perspective, a single T40 drone can cover an area of 1.5 hectares within an hour, which equates to approximately 10 hectares in a day. This is a stark contrast to manual backpack spraying methods where two workers would need an entire day to treat just 1 hectare.

 

agriculture drone solution

Image courtesy of AGS

 

 

Finer Droplet Drone Spraying and Better Efficacy on Banana

 

Drone-based spraying systems offer substantial benefits over traditional manual methods for applying fungicides and pesticides in banana farming. These drones employ atomized spraying technology, producing fine droplets that thoroughly coat banana leaves, thereby improving the absorption of these protective chemicals. Many banana farmers have noted that this method maintains effective operations even with less usage of fungicides and pesticides. User feedback indicates a considerable reduction in resources - water usage has dropped by 90% annually, and the application of fungicides and pesticides has decreased by 40%.

 

Thus, drone-based spraying not only boosts the effectiveness of crop protection measures but also contributes significantly to environmental preservation and water resource conservation.

 

agriculture drone solution

Image courtesy of AGS

 

 

Drone Application Opportunities

 

Banana plants typically undergo a growth cycle lasting 9-12 months. For the initial three months, both manual spraying and drones are utilized for pest control. After this period, drones assume the responsibility of spraying. Using Vietnamese banana farms as an example, the growth cycle spans nine months. During this time, fungicides and pesticides need to be applied every 10-15 days, generally concluding in the ninth month, right before harvest. Crucially, throughout the growth cycle, it's essential to either proactively prevent or swiftly react to pest infestations detected during manual field inspections.

 

Overall, Drones play a vital role in all stages of banana cultivation. Particularly from the fourth to the eighth month, which is a critical period in banana farming, most farmers opt for drone usage due to its economic benefits and efficiency.

 

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Agras Drone spraying

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Agras Drone spraying(primary)

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agriculture drone solution

 

 

Banana Plant Disease Care Guide

 

Banana plants require attentive care to ensure healthy growth and prevent common issues such as Panama disease and withering. To prevent and control these diseases and pests, farmers typically spray fungicide/pesticide once every two weeks. Understanding the development stages, areas of impact, and effective spraying schedules is crucial for successful banana cultivation. Productivity increases as a result of higher bunch weights, which are achieved through an ample number of functional leaves during harvest.

The following are examples of using drones to spray chemicals for prevention and control.

 

1. Panama Disease

  • Development Stage: From planting until 4 months old
  • Affected Areas: Found on the ground and banana stem
  • Spraying Schedule: In the first month, spray 1-2 times/month combined with moisturizing and water supply.
  • Aircraft Efficiency: As it mainly affects the soil and plant body, thorough soil spraying initially and then some hand spraying on the body is sufficient. Agras drone spraying has significantly reduced the need for manual spraying from top to bottom.

 

2. Withering

  • Development Stage: 4 months or more
  • Affected Areas: Soft leaf buds, mainly on the leaves
  • Spraying Schedule: Spray evenly twice a week
  • Aircraft Efficiency: Spraying evenly from top to bottom covers the leaf surface effectively, eliminating the need for manual spraying.

 

By following these guidelines for panama disease and withering prevention, banana farmers can efficiently manage their plants' health and yield better harvests.

Also, Remember to adapt these recommendations based on local climate and specific plant conditions for optimal results.

 

 

Banana Best Practices Recommendation in Vietnam

 

 

Vietnam is one of the world's major banana-producing countries. Previously, farmers relied more on manual backpack spraying for bananas, but the introduction of drone technology into banana cultivation has yielded significant results. Agras drones can replace manual labor to timely spray fungicide/pesticide during the banana growth cycle, usually spraying once every 10-15 days, 2-3 times a month.

 

Agras drone uses automatic flight routes: The pilot sets the following parameters, while ground assistant inserts the flight battery and add the chemicals. The Agras drone then carries out fully automated operations.

 

Parameters:

 

Model

T40

Application rate

200-250 L/ha

Speed

1-1. 5m/s

Height

3m

 

agriculture drone solution

Image courtesy of AGS.

 

Case Studies

Please check the following video for the case study workflow demo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89tm0s_Wgo0

 

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