Commercial drones were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) more than two years ago and agriculture businesses were eager to put them to use.
At the Iowa Power Farming Show, Yamaha Motor Corporation was showing off its RMAX aircraft. One of the first major waves of this new drone technology being implemented.
It’s primarily used for wine grapes in California, but they are looking to lease the newest platform in about a year. Fully loaded it weighs 205 pounds and can spray any product with an aerial label.
When the next product is ready they will target crop dusters who have the 137 FAA license for agriculture air operators.
Market Development Manager Brad Anderson says it could be a valuable tool for farmers, “Really good fit for small fields, tight areas, steep terrain. If you have dangerous, if there’s power lines in the field and it’s not safe to fly a plane under it’s a really good complement to a lot of the current spray options that are out there.”
He adds, “So the one thing that we always tell people is it’s very situational. It’s just another tool at people’s disposal to use. It’s not an end all solution.”