Are drones the answer to cutting costs of spraying pesticide?

As pressure mounts on farmers to maximise profit, drone technology is developing fast. Joyance, a Chinese drone manufacturer, believes that the advantages of drone technology for spraying pesticides far out weigh traditional methods.

Personal safety, efficiency and cost saving are the high on the list of benefits.

Since drones can be used remotely, farmers can be protected from poisoning and other effects of pesticide. Since drones can spray in a more targeted way, pollution to water and soil is also lessened.

Drones can spray between 50-100 acres a day, 30 more times than traditional spraying methods. They have a high degree of atomisation which means that the chemical mist can be pushed to all levels of the crop which can save more than 30% of pesticide. In addition water costs can be saved as using ultra low volume spraying technology uses just 10% of the water needed by traditional spraying methods. Using drones can also cut the cost of labour by 30%.

With pesticides under scrutiny, it remains to see whether drones will become a common sight across the UK's farms for spraying or whether other functions, such as surveying land, will prove to be more popular.