Making Fine Wine and Juicy Apples

This months news is all about what we have been up to in the fruit bowls of New Zealand.

Two industries that we never thought about when starting the company were horticulture and viticulture. They now play a huge part of our day to day business.

This year, ourselves and one of our customers based in Christchurch (Drone Spray) covered vineyards and apple orchards in Hawkes Bay, Canterbury and Central Otago. Drones were not previously used in these situations as it was questionable as to whether enough coverage would be attained. It is cost prohibitive to apply the same water volumes a tractor does via drone, however a few keen growers were keen to give it a go.

In the early season canopies are very bare as no leaves are yet on the trees. These are actually one of the most important times to keep the applications up as this is when disease like black spot on apples gets established. The drones utilize their finest droplet possible with the highest water application rate that we decided was cost effective. This is where the P100 Pro came into its own. At the start of the season we were using the P100 but about two months in we were able to start utilizing the P100 Pro, with it’s higher capacity and more importantly huge pump output.. The block pictured was sprayed by drone for 85% of its crop cycle. The remaining 15% was done by tractor

We had already covered a steep vineyard in Hawkes Bay in the 2022/23 season but unfortunately very little fruit got harvested due to cyclone Gabrielle but at least as far as the drone spraying went we had some proof of the application working well. We started with spraying in Hawkes Bay, Canterbury and Central Otago and it wasn’t long before we were getting great feedback. At first, the Hawkes Bay vineyard was only running a trial but halfway through the season their tractor broke down and the trial was swiftly moved to cover the entire block via drone.


Lets talk numbers: We sprayed all of our blocks at about one fifth the rate of traditional methods. The apple trial stayed at 100 liters per hectare throughout the entire season and the fruit has just been through the packhouse with great results. Due to the need for better coverage and chemistry requirements with the grapes the water rates were kept a little higher for the most part.

Time: A tractor can spray roughly 2ha per hour in a typical vineyard or orchard environment – we can spray 7. We also have the ability to scale up in the fact one qualified operator can fly two drones at once covering almost 15 hectares per hour. They would require some help with chemical mixing and battery changes but it is still a significant gain on traditional methods.


If you would like to know more about our spray drones in the viticulture and horticulture industries or would like to hear about our work over the 23/24 season then please give us a call. We would love to chat to you. 

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