Biological control practices are widely used in farming systems; however, adoption has been relatively slow. UAV-IQ Co-founder and Business Development Manager, Thomas Grandperrin said that drones offer growers an opportunity to be more efficient with their biocontrol programs. Releasing beneficial insects can be a labor-intensive practice but a drone allows a single operator to cover hundreds of acres per day.
“It has other advantages as well. The systems we use are calibrated to release precise rates homogeneously, which is something that can be hard to achieve when done manually. It can be used to release bios on top of tall crops,” Grandperrin noted. “Something we’ve done as well is releasing beneficials right after rain when it is impossible for field workers to enter into the muddy terrain. Beneficials are living organisms, so perishable. You need to release them in a fairly short window of time after receiving them from the insectary. If you don’t have the crew to release them manually in one or two days, you’re likely to lose a lot of the product.”
Drones are assisting farmers more effectively deploy a variety of beneficial insects in a multitude of crops, using less labor than traditional methods. While drones can be a helpful tool for improving biological control strategies, there are some considerations to keep in mind. “I think there is no real limit as to which crops can use drone-released biocontrol approaches but whether or not using a drone is the best approach would depend on which beneficial you release, at which rate, and the design and size of the farm,” said Grandperrin.
Listen to the full episode with Thomas Grandperrin below.
‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.
This episode of Making Sense of Biologicals is made possible by Marrone Bio Innovations, leading the movement to environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Marrone Bio’s portfolio of 18 products helps a wide range of growers – from row crops and fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, vines, and greenhouse production – operate more sustainably while increasing their return on investment. For educational webinars and biological IPM programs, visit MarroneBio.com.