by Thomas Grandperrin
Published on July 24, 2019
We are glad to officially announce today that our company UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture is now offering aerial biocontrol, a new integrated pest management (IPM) service that uses drones to release beneficial biological control agents bred by Koppert Biological Systems, the world leader in biological pest management. Drone-based aerial biocontrol offers a new way for conventional and organic growers to combat pests, reduce the environmental impact of pesticide usage, and address a growing labor crunch.
“We’re extremely excited to team up with the premier company in biocontrol to help address the pest management needs of growers” says Andreas Neuman, CEO at UAV-IQ. Ryan Hill, General Manager at Koppert Biological Systems, “After extensive research, development, and field trials I’m confident that we are providing growers a high-quality service that will become a standard component of effective, modern integrated pest management plans.”
Several years of internal research and development were conducted by Koppert’s Netherlands-based R&D team to ensure that their beneficial insects and mites not only survive the process but are at their peak readiness to prey on pests. UAV-IQ’s Vice President of Agriculture, Robert Starnes, previously Senior Superintendent of Agriculture at UC Davis, was heavily involved in the extensive field trials conducted in California. Together, the teams at UAV-IQ and Koppert are confident that the early results warrant scaling this service throughout California this year and beyond in 2020.
Drones release beneficials just a few meters above the crops
The earliest adopters of this service tended to be existing Koppert clients, in particular, who already understood the advantages of using beneficials in their farms and saw drones as a more efficient and effective means of distribution. However, drones offer a way for crops which are not traditionally as heavy consumers of biological control treatments due to their logistical challenges to start incorporating them more robustly into their IPM plans. This summer, several nut growers and nurseries growing ornamental trees have begun using UAV-IQ’s services since they provide a method of releasing beneficials directly into tops of canopies for the first time.
Some of the key features and benefits of drone-based aerial biocontrol include:
- Kill pests even when they’re hiding where chemicals can’t reach
- More efficient distribution than traditional application techniques
- Meaningfully reduce use of chemical pesticides
Have you implemented biological control in your farm already? We’d love to hear your comments about this new technology and service.
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A discussion with Kent Daane about the need to manage insecticides as part of an IPM program, the biological control agents being used in vineyards, and the use of cover crops for promoting vine health.
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