Crop Protection Equipment
Farmers know that all of their hard work of soil preparation, planting, irrigating and functions of tending to growing crops could all be for naught without a sound crop-protection plan. As important as the plan itself is choosing the correct crop protection equipment to insure maximum protection within your budget guidelines.
Although many small farmers still dust their crops with pesticides and fertilizers using tractor-mounted equipment, medium and large scale growers mostly reach out for aerial crop protection to handle their aerial spraying needs.
Crop Spraying Aircraft
Agricultural aircraft are designed so the pilot has visibility in all directions. Specialized ventilation systems are employed to protect the pilot from exposure to dangerous chemicals, to help reduce pilot fatigue, to safeguard the safety of the pilot safety, and to protect the aircraft from corrosive chemical mixtures.
Up until the mid-1950s, only fixed wing (FW) airplanes were used to spray agricultural corps. This changed when the helicopter played an important role in transporting wounded soldiers and supplies during the Korean War. Their versatility and pin-point hovering capability suddenly gave crop dusting companies a viable alternative to FW aircraft.
Aerial Application Equipment
The Satloc Bantam GPS guidance for aerial applicators enables the pilot to spray precise patterns using constant rate flow control and GPS coordinates. This accurate system reduces fuel usage, flying time, and application costs.
The Satloc Bantam GPS system features a real-time moving map display that provides the pilot with a visual guide. It shows key features like field swaths already sprayed, field boundaries, skips and overlaps and , way points. The AirTrac software allows the pilot to track acreage as it’s being sprayed, analyze the log data, view remote points or targeted fields and to monitor application rates during the aerial spraying.
Although initially more expensive to operate than fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters precision sprayers do hold an advantage over FW sprayers in several important crop dusting functions. For one, helicopters like the Robinson R44 Raven II and the Bell 47 Turbine Soloys can load off of a nurse truck parked directly next to the fields they are spraying. FW aircraft have to fly to a landing strip to reload, increasing the ferrying time which translate into dollars. The turnaround time is where the productivity is in terms of flying time vs spraying time.
The Helicopter has proven to be very efficient when working small, irregular fields and areas surrounded with obstacles like trees or power lines. And another point that pleases farmers with helicopter spraying is the fact that the rotor wash helps spread chemicals on the underside of the plants for better chemical coverage.
For the over the past 30 years, helicopters fitted with an Isolair Spray system have provided customers with innovative spray systems that are proven to be both reliable and extremely cost effective.
The 3900-480 Isolair Spray system, for instance, features an electrically powered spray pump capable of delivering 100 gallons per minute at 30 psi. One person can install or remove the system from the helicopter in only a matter of minutes after the initial installation process is completed. The GPS system allows you to upload shape files of the fields you want treated, and once job is completed, it can provide you with maps that show which fields were actually sprayed.