Farmers learn how drone technology benefits agriculture


By Anne Moore

Western Wisconsin Conservation Council (WWCC) member, Jon-De Farm, hosted a drone spraying and seeding event in June. Over 40 attendees, including farmers and industry, learned how this technology can be utilized in farming.

Ken Rost from Frost Inc., a local spray technology company, demonstrated how the Rantizo drone can apply liquid herbicides and pesticides. He believes aerial application can help agriculture in spot treating areas of fields with pest issues.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox for having an integrated pest management program where you are identifying the pest pressures that are on a crop,” Rost said. “Instead of using a big old paint brush to paint across the field, you’re using a little paint brush to really cover the detail areas of a field.”

Another Rantizo contractor, Mike Maguire, demonstrated how the same drone can also spread seed. He used the drone to cast rye seed over a growing corn field to establish a cover crop, something that would normally happen in the fall before harvest. With this Rantizo drone, 55 pounds of seed per acre can be applied.

He shared that the past two years of applying cover crop seed have not been as satisfactory as he had hoped. However, he continues to test different products and different seeds in hopes to establish more seeds per acre.

Attendees enjoyed seeing firsthand how the drones were set up and worked, along with learning about what certifications are needed to fly a Rantizo drone.

A few farmers shared the first impression that drone application isn’t economical for farmers yet. However, the demonstration spurred a lot of thoughts on how they could use drones, in a variety of ways like scouting fields. The farmers appreciate these opportunities to get together and learn from each other on trials of conservation practices are working on their farms.

Thanks to the event meal sponsor, Compeer Financial.