Drone technology has made tremendous progress in recent years and continues to open new applications: in addition to classic aerial photography, drones are now detecting hens in tall grass to rescue wildlife from harvesters or lab samples A through B. End of July The Confederation has provided drones have another function. Switzerland is the first country in Europe to approve pesticide spray drones.
Over the course of two years, five different federal agencies jointly defined this approval process and attributed it to the use of drones – most notably the alternative to helicopter flying in vineyards and orchards on hillside and on terraces. "This can be very useful in principle and brings with it several benefits," says Klaus Büchel, president of the Association of Peasant Organizations in the Principality of Liechtenstein (VBO).
Less drift thanks to drones
There is no commercial fruit growing in Liechtenstein. "Viticulture is too small to protect the plant by helicopter. On the other hand, the use of drones in certain Liechtenstein vineyards is interesting," says Büchel. As new technologies contribute to improving production conditions, VBO is dedicated to them. Compared to conventional airborne pesticide applications, drones can fly at low altitude precisely and are automatically controlled by crops.
According to the VBO president, measurements in the vineyards have shown that less spray is produced and thus less active ingredients than conventional blower blowers. Drones cause much less airflow. And that is simply very topical. A recent study by the University of Neuchâtel showed only recently that 93 percent of Swiss fields were contaminated by organic farmers, and criticized bee venom by neonicotinoids. Although insecticides are prohibited on organic farms. So, you must have met. Therefore, the alternative solution is more environmentally friendly and also less expensive. "The challenges of operating drones with nebulizers, however, are low tank volume and short flight times due to frequent battery changes," Büchel explains.
Unmanned aerial vehicle clearance should be obtained from the Federal Civil Aviation Office, as in Switzerland. So far, seven companies have obtained such a standard license in a neighboring country. This allows them to use unmanned aerial vehicles with a total weight of up to 150 kilograms over one year, which must bring with them a number of technical requirements.
So far, plant protection products in Liechtenstein have been sprayed with field sprayers, such as sprayers or hand-held devices – such as spray backpacks for targeted application on very small areas. According to the president of VBO, this application technique is regularly checked for accuracy and application by external testing agencies.
The assignment must be documented
In Liechtenstein, on the other hand, there is no point of contact for the general use of plant protection products where its use should be reported. This is despite the fact that the word "pesticide" has been adversely affected for a long time. For example, the use of glyphosate repeatedly causes discussions about the health damage that people might cause. Institutions around the world are constantly coming up with new demands to reduce pesticide use. "VBO is not a licensing or testing body and therefore cannot assess health effects," Büchel comments. However, due to the high proportion of organic farms, the use of chemically synthesized pesticides in Liechtenstein is lower than in other countries, he adds. In addition, the principle that chemical control measures are used only if preventive and non-chemical measures cannot be used to ensure sufficient crop protection against harmful organisms. "Non-chemical measures take priority, if available, effective and sustainable," Büchel says. Last but not least, the use of pesticides is subject to strict guidelines: Farmers must document every use of pesticides. It must contain the application, agent, dosage, time and waiting period. In addition, the materials must be properly stored and farmers must receive regular training and control of the application technique.
The same pesticides are used as in Switzerland. The approved funds are listed on the "list of plant protection products" and the Swiss Federal Bureau of Agriculture is pesticide approved. Applications must be submitted with the registration dossier. (JKA)