Thanks to team work, "artificial" walnut cultivation has reached Portugal.
Thanks to team work, "artificial" walnut cultivation has reached Portugal. A drone was used to pollinate trees in a three-year-old grove, which therefore had little pollen available.
After tests carried out in Italy last year, the request arrived from a company carrying out a significant investment in walnut cultivation, supported by representative Filipe Sepulveda. Eugenio Cozzolino (agronomist), Paolo Marras (Aermatica3D in Como); Marco Zambelli (Consorzio Agrario in San Giorgio di Piano); Federico Lopez and Emilio Mellado (Nogaltec) all collaborated to the project.
"The automatic pollen distribution kit was designed by Aermatica3D. The drone can cover 10 hectares per hour. CACI from Imola and Vitroplant from Cesena gave their support during the various harvesting, management and pollen certification phases."
Drone pollination has many advantages: speedy distribution times, as it needs less than 10 minutes per hectare, including pollen recharging; effective distribution thanks to adjustable flights; low distribution costs, as artificial pollination produces 40 kg more walnuts per hectare; economic benefits as, in the right conditions, it can lead to returns of a few thousand Euros.
Thanks to a collaboration between E. Cozzolino (Agronomist, expert in in walnut plantations), the Agrarian Consortium of Emilia and AERMATICA3D (Drone Solution Provider)
In Emilia Romagna, Italy, there have been the first operations of artificial walnut pollination by using a drone, to integrate, supplement, improve and overcome the natural pollination.
Modern walnut production is growing in Emilia Romagna and in other areas of Italy and Europe, where there are no traditional walnut plantations.
For several reasons, in specific conditions, natural pollination may not be sufficient!
Dr. Cozzolino Eugenio firstname.lastname@example.org supported by technical and industrial partners has been investigating for several years the possibility of introducing this new technique, collecting pollen, distributing it from the ground and scientifically verifying the results, analyzing and measuring costs/benefits of using the Artificial Pollination.
This year a further and significant step forward has been made: thanks to the collaboration of Dr. E. Cozzolino with Aermatica3D of Como (www.aermatica.com), a company specialized in Drone Solutions for Agriculture, and the Agrarian Consortium of Emilia ( www.caemilia.it), the AUTOMATIC ARTIFICIAL WALNUT POLLINATION BY DRONE has been developed.
Aermatica3D and the Emilia Agrarian Consortium (email@example.com), as well as various experiments in progress, have already established a consolidated collaboration in the biological control of European corn borer, by the distribution with BLY-A drone of capsules containing eggs of Trichogramma brassicae a beneficial insect.
In the case of pollinating walnut by drone, compared to the European Corn Borer Biological Control, the challenge proved to be more complex both in terms of flight scenarios and product to be distributed (“powdery” and very finely grained product).
A new distribution system, built on the Drone BLY-A (based on DJI M100 platform; Aermatica3D is authorized DJI Enterprise Dealer), has been designed by Aermatica3D with remote control of the distributed product quantity. A professional software developed by Aermatica3D based on DJI SDK allows the operator to plan distribution missions and run flights by controlling pollen distribution in a fully automatic way under the supervision of the Pilot.
During the activity, there was a shorter distribution time (less than 10 minutes per hectare overall considering all the recharging and operating times) and the guaranteed efficacy of distribution.
From the economic point of view, these results are obtained at costs comparable to those of a few dozen Kg of nuts but gaining concrete benefits for an increased production of several quintals of nuts per hectare.
Once again, Drone for Agriculture of AERMATICA3D, thanks to the collaboration with important companies such as the Emilia-Romagna Agrarian Consortium and specialized expertise such as those of Dr. Eugenio Cozzolino in walnut plantations, are part of the operational tools to be used in modern, innovative precision farming.
Publication date: 5/23/2018