DroneUA practical conference: how robotics saves money and increases the profitability of soybeans and sunflowers

August 28, 2023
Практична конференція DroneUA: як робототехніка заощаджує кошти й підвищує прибутковість сої та соняшнику
Published on  Updated on  

In the agricultural season of 2023, when it is time for total cost savings, the correct distribution of all resources and obtaining the maximum harvest, timely adjustment of the technology of growing strategically important crops, in particular, their protection system, which drastically affects the result, is relevant.

That's why the DroneUA group of companies held a practical conference "It's quite pointless to lose money. Profitable soybeans and sunflowers with agricultural drones in the conditions of 2023". The event took place on July 18 at the AgriLab International Center for Precision Agriculture in Boryspil District (Kyiv Region).

The event brought together participants in the agricultural industry of various specializations and leading market experts, who shared their experience, professional forecasts and took an active part in the discussion on finding effective solutions to strengthen the entire domestic agricultural sector.


Sunflower crop loss zones and how to avoid them

Classical approaches to the cultivation of the main agricultural crops have long since exhausted their effectiveness and expediency. Because the climatic and economic conditions of each subsequent year encourage the optimization of production, accurate distribution of resources and more rational use of each hectare of land. Given the limited budget of farmers and low prices for products, the only way to implement these tasks is to change technologies, use modern tools that allow you to get better results at lower costs.

In the cultivation of one of the most relevant crops on the world market - sunflower, crop losses due to crop diseases can exceed 30%, and losses arising from the treatment of crops (with fungicides, insecticides and desiccants) by wheeled machinery reach 5-10% of the crop, which is equal to or exceeds the amount of culture that can be destroyed by a pest.

Thus, on 5 thousand hectares of land, 500 hectares are simply trampled due to technological ruts. With a yield of 3 t/ha of sunflower and a seed cost of UAH 15,700/t, the crop failure is 1,500 t of seeds with a 500 ha cost of UAH 23,550,000, or $588,750 (at the exchange rate of UAH 40/$1).


Such losses can be avoided thanks to the introduction of the necessary preparations for crop protection by agrodrones, with which mechanical damage to crops during processing is zero.

In addition, unmanned machinery for agriculture has a much lower price than self-propelled, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the general economy of the enterprise and prevent the owner from getting stuck in debt.

*The XAG V40 sprayer drone without additional equipment costs approximately $8,200 (327,999 UAH) at the exchange rate of UAH 40/$1, while a self-propelled sprayer has a price of $230-250,000.

Drone spraying is a global trend and a solution to current problems

Abundant rainfall and late phases of plant development do not allow you to enter the field with wheeled equipment and carry out the necessary agronomic operations in time. In this case, the only alternative is to spray the culture from the air.


"The use of agricultural drones is economically profitable and allows solving problems related to trampling and soil compaction. The market for agricultural drones is expected to grow significantly, which will create new opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers and farms. The use of agricultural drones is developing and aimed at improving agricultural technologies, autonomy and expanding functionality. Modern agricultural drones spray fields, monitor plants, collect data and diagnose diseases," says Oleksandr Otsabryk, head of the information support and automation department of the BTU-Center company.

For more than 3 years, the company "BTU-Center" has been providing field treatment with the help of sprayer drones. Today, the drug manufacturer already has more than 100,000 cultivated hectares in 20 farms, which made it possible to confirm:

  • gluing winter rape with the help of agrodrones provides tremendous savings and preserves up to 50% of the crop from cracking;
  • up to 15% of the harvest is preserved due to the absence of trampling and threshing;
  • the volume of the working solution can be reduced by up to 90% thanks to UMO technology without losing the effectiveness of the drug.

Improving the result thanks to quality monitoring

A professional approach to collecting field information is one of the hidden reserves on the way to cost optimization. Using qualitative field analysis and modern tools, it is possible to calculate the productivity of each hectare and carry out the operation of feeding and protecting crops only where it is appropriate, precisely allocating resources. Today, the AgriLab company actively shares its experience in this area with farmers.

Satellite data allows for soil, weather and crop condition analysis. However, field surveys can also be carried out by drones (up to 3,000 hectares per day).


In addition, AgriLab has practical experience of using sprayer drones in the introduction of pesticides and desiccation, which was shared by Volodymyr Makhota, head of the scientific and technological support department of the AgriLab company, during the practical conference. In particular, the company successfully applied UMO when applying growth regulators and fungicides.

According to the experience of AgriLab:

  • savings due to the point application of AZR is from 6 to 10 $/ha;
  • cost savings during desiccation by drones up to $20/ha depending on the coverage area.

This year, the DroneUA Group of Companies is a partner of the Digital Field 2023 project - a Polygon of agricultural innovations from the AgriLab company, where it presents the possibilities of innovative robotics for agriculture XAG as an exclusive distributor of the brand.

As part of the project, DroneUA provides leading expertise in the practical application of agricultural drones in agriculture and demonstrates the capabilities of ultra-small-volume application of pesticides and fertilizers at Digital Field landfills.

So far, three treatments of corn and sunflower crops have already been carried out, during which insecticides, fungicides, growth regulators and biological preparations were successfully applied by the XAG V40 sprayer drone and the most powerful XAG P100 agrodrone with a discharge rate of 5 to 8 l/ha and a productivity of up to 25 ha/h .

Optimization of application by agricultural drones due to the use of adjuvants. Experiments by DroneUA and Spraytec

Today, manufacturers of various drugs are increasingly working on adapting their products to ultra-low-volume application.

The properties of water and the path of a drop of the working solution from the sprayer to the crop significantly affect the effective assimilation of drugs. An adjuvant helps to minimize the impact of adverse weather conditions and not always an appropriate level of water quality.

Transnational company "Spraytek", which is a leader in the field of innovation and technology, has produced such a unique product, which DroneUA has already managed to test.


With the help of the XAG V40 sprayer drone, 5 experiments were carried out with different dosages of the drug, using the following operating parameters: application rate - 8 l/ha, droplet size - 130 microns, drone movement speed - 6 m/s, wind 3.5-4 m /s, air temperature - 29.8 degrees.

The test results showed that the droplet becomes heavier and more viscous, the erosion of the working solution is minimized, the effectiveness of the drug and the coverage area increase. Therefore, the effective technology of ultra-low-volume application becomes even more effective and profitable.

Additional profit thanks to the services of application by agricultural drones

The development of the service direction in the domestic market of agricultural drones is gaining momentum. And this is confirmed by the growth of the DroneUA partner project - FarmFleet.


Exactly one year ago, the FarmFleet project positioned itself as an AgTech startup - an online platform that offers solutions for agricultural producers and service companies, combining the needs of agricultural operations and the technical possibilities of their satisfaction with the involvement of external contractors, forming a transparent and intelligent market for outsourcing services in agriculture.

This season, the FarmFleet project opened its own service line for the provision of services for the introduction of pesticides and fertilizers and attracts foreign investments:

  • 8 brigades with a powerful fleet of XAG V40 / P100 drones;
  • ZZR mixers for 130-200 l;
  • 1,000 hectares of productivity potential per day; 
  • agronomic service for customer support and research activities.

Today, the FarmFleet team performs field mapping and provides efficient continuous and spot treatment of fields.

XAG sprayer drones - an investment that pays off for 250 ha in 1 operation

If we take a sunflower crop of 300 hectares with a yield of 3 t/ha, then at a trampling level of 5%, total losses will amount to 45 tons. With a sunflower price of 15,000/t, total losses reach UAH 675,000, which is significantly higher than the current price of the XAG V40 sprayer drone kit. Thus, one agricultural drone can pay for itself on an area of only 300 hectares per season only due to the absence of technological tracks.


In addition, the agricultural producer saves a significant amount of resources and receives the benefits of using sprayer drones:

- ultra-low-volume application by sprayer drones requires 40 times less water than a traditional sprayer, thanks to the discharge rate of 5 l/ha, instead of 200 l/ha;

- fuel economy - 20 times less, compared to traditional equipment;

- reduced use of the drug due to more effective application (dense coverage of the plant, absorption occurs very quickly).

- drug savings reach 30-40%;

- the possibility of processing hard-to-reach places;

- mobility, transportability.

Where is the market headed? Key landmarks

During the panel discussion, we talked about changing technological approaches to growing soybeans and sunflowers, robotics in agriculture and digitalization of processes, adaptation to market realities in the face of climate change, sales strategy, ways to overcome the crisis and development directions.

"Whoever will experiment and move forward will be more competitive. We need to switch to electronic CRM systems and calculate everything in detail, develop a step-by-step strategy and set clear plans for completing tasks. And this will help us survive the next year. It looks complicated, but we all understand that we bear the burden not only of the profitability of agribusiness, but of the survival of the country in general. We understand that agriculture today is 50% + foreign exchange revenue, it is our economic front. That's why you can't give up," said Deputy General Director for Commercial Affairs of TAS AGRO Anton Zhemerdeev.


"Drones are an effective tool. But everything should be integrated. At the moment, we are not talking about a complete replacement of wheeled equipment. But logistics are currently complicated, prices for agricultural products are low. Today, we need to use the entire range of tools available to us, especially to be open to robotics, unmanned solutions, digitization. And if agricultural drones are available to the domestic agricultural producer and they help to reduce the cost of production, then this technology must be mastered by everyone, actively implemented and refined", concluded Fevzi Ametov, co-founder of the DroneUA Group of Companies.

The use of agricultural drones fundamentally changes approaches to farming and optimizes a number of important production processes: logistics operations, crop inspection, protection and nutrition of crops, drying and processing of grain.

Practical demonstration of the ecosystem of XAG solutions in the field

During the practical part of the conference, DroneUA agricultural drone operators demonstrated XAG sprayer drones in operation at the DroneUA experimental site within the Digital Field project.

The participants of the event had the opportunity to see the world's first two-rotor spraying drone XAG V40, which stands out for its mobility and maneuverability, as well as the most powerful agricultural drone XAG P100.


Moreover, in front of the visitors, the XAG P100 agricultural drone was converted for another operation within a few minutes:

- the RevoSpray modular platform, intended for spraying crops, was replaced by the RevoCast platform for applying bulk drugs and seeds.


Pilot trainers demonstrated how to put the equipment into operation and advised farmers on all technical questions that interested them.

The holding of specialized events and their active attendance by farmers confirms that the industry is ready to find and implement innovations. Robotics is exactly the way that will increase human efficiency in the field, and currently market companies are actively working on the development of joint projects that will contribute to the food security of the world.

Practical conference "It's quite pointless to lose money. Profitable soybeans and sunflowers with agro-drones in the conditions of 2023" took place with the support of the media partner AgroPortal.ua, the general partner of ProAgro Group, the "Danube Soya" Association and the AgriLab company.

Published on  Updated on  

DroneUA is an international system integrator of unmanned solutions and robotics.

On the market of Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the DroneUA group of companies is the largest importer and distributor of leading drone manufacturers in the world and represents technological solutions from the brands XAG, EcoFlow, Pix4D, Parrot, Chasing, DroneDeploy, AgroCares and others.

The group of companies has its own engineering, production and service divisions, as well as an open data processing center. Technological solutions presented by DroneUA are used on more than 4 million hectares of cultivated areas of Ukraine. According to the results of the 2021 and 2022 agricultural seasons, more than 2.2 million hectares were protected with drone sprayers from DroneUA.

DroneUA is among the top three most innovative businesses in the agricultural sector of Ukraine according to FORBES and among the twenty most innovative enterprises of Ukraine.

The group of companies continues to expand the list of technological brands that it presents on the Ukrainian market, and is active in agriculture, the oil and gas industry, as well as in the fields of energy, geodesy and topography.

Contact us