Variable Rate Technology in Aerial Application

Report
Variable Rate Technology
in Aerial Application
A presentation for
Ag-Pro Expo
Atlanta, GA
February, 2007
VRT utilizes improvements
in multiple technologies
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Aircraft
GPS Swath Guidance
Aerial imaging and Prescription Maps
Dispersal System
Air Tractor aircraft
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Leader in the industry
Turbine-powered aircraft ranging from 400 to
800 gallon capacity
Air Tractor aircraft
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Highly productive
Can efficiently treat a variety of field
sizes, application rates, and ferry
distances
Spray Pattern / Drift
Minimization
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Extensive research to design optimal boom
and nozzle placement
Excellent spray pattern; aerodynamically
clean fuselage reduces turbulence and drift
potential
GPS – Swath Guidance
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Main players: Satloc
and Del Norte merged
to form Hemisphere Air
GPS adopted by
majority of aerial
applicators
Flow control capability
has been in place for
past decade.
Aerial VRT started 2003
Satloc system
Imaging / Prescription
Maps

In Time
– Digital Infrared
Aerial Imagery
– Scout Map to
Prescription Map
in minutes
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John Deere AgriServices
Wilbur Ellis
Imaging / Mapping
Research
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USDA Agricultural Research Service conducting
Remote Sensing Studies with an Air Tractor
for:
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–
–
–
–
Weed detection
Detection of insect habitat
Insect and disease damage
Nutrient status
Determining the onset of plant water stress using
thermal imagery
Digital Video Instrumentation
Camera status indicator
GPS
Video
monitor
External GPS
antenna (opt.)
Remote
VMS
SATLOC GPS
Fiber optic cable
Camera
Air Tractor 402B
Weed detection:
Original image
Spurges
Johnsongrass
Cotton in rows
Weed detection:
Processed image
Red = Johnson grass
Yellow = Spurge
Green = Cotton
Black = Unclassified
Dispersal Systems for
VRT
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Engine-driven Hydraulic Spray System:
Kawak Aviation Technologies
– Controls flow rate by varying speed of
pump
– Rate changes in milliseconds
– Zero-rate capable
– Cost: app. $50,000
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Paired with AutoCal flow controller by
Houma Avionics
Installation on AT-402B
Installation on AT-402B
Installation on AT-402B
Dispersal Systems (cont.)
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DC Powered Electric System
– Controls rate by an electric valve, such as
Satloc Aerial Ace
– Rate changes are slower than with full
hydraulic system
– Zero rates are controlled by a separate
hydraulic shutoff valve
– Cost: app. $27,000
Nozzles for VRT
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Veri-rate by Spray Target
– Designed specifically for Variable Rate
Aerial Application
– Keeps droplet size within proper spectrum
regardless of pressure
AE-50 Nozzle
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Pressure variation
from 30 – 60 PSI
Flow rate variation
from 0.3 to 3.0
GPM
Rate change
response time is
.25 seconds
Advantages of Aerial VRT
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Accuracy: USDA study (Smith & Thomson,
2005)
– Flowrate error due to flow controller: .77%
– Flowrate error due to rate change timing: 3.04%
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Faster than ground application
No crop damage from wheel tracks
Cost savings from reduced chemicals
Environmental benefit
Accuracy of Aerial VRT
Prescription Map
Actual Applied
Accuracy of Aerial VRT
Prescription Map
Actual Applied
Variable Rate (VR) PGR/Insecticide/Boron Application
Scout Map
Location:
Arkansas Delta
Crop:
Cotton
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Field Size:
422.01 Acres
Lowest Biomass
Imagery Acquired:
July 5, 2004
Highest Biomass
Prescription Map
VR Treatment Applied:
July 8, 2004
Chemical Cost of Variable
Rate Application:
$5.85/Acre
0 gpa
0 gpa
2.5 gpa, Pix @ 10 fl oz, Bidrin @ 5.13 fl oz, Boron @ 2.5 fl oz
3.0 gpa
3.0 gpa
4.0 gpa
4.0 gpa, Pix @ 16 fl oz, Bidrin @ 8.2 fl oz, Boron @ 4.0 fl oz
Blanket application
equivalent to the 3 gpa rate:
$9.39/Acre.
Cost savings: $3.54/acre
Insecticide Application
As Applied
Prescription Map
264.14 acres
1 gal = 216.59 acres
No Spray = 47.54 acres
18% Chemical Savings
Cost Savings of VRT
Scout Map
Prescription
Rx & As-Applied
0 gallons
2.3 gallons
3.0 gallons
917.74 Acres
Pix on cotton
Saved $5.06 / Acre
Versus 3 gal / Acre Blanket
As-Applied
Applications & Future Growth
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Aerial VRT being used in Texas, California and Mississippi
Delta
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Applications
– Cotton: Pix and Defoliation
– Rice: Fertilizer and Insecticide
– Trees (fruit & nut)
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Dry Application:
– great interest; still in early stages
– Mississippi State Univ. working to measure application rate
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Current Research for rapid, real-time imaging and
conversion to prescription
– Map in one pass, Spray in second pass
Thanks for your attention!
For more information contact:
Kristin Edwards, VP Sales
[email protected]
www.airtractor.com

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