Drones are now in the business of pollination, as has been demonstrated at an apple orchard in Lafayette, New York.
With one third of all food crops around the world depending on pollination, this essential process is usually completed by bees.
While scientists work on understanding why certain bee species are in decline, another company has come up with a way to support mother nature.
That solution is known as Dropcopter, and the GENIUS NY team have partnered with Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard to demonstrate the first autonomous pollination of apples in the USA.
Each year, 400 hives help pollinate Beak & Skiff’s apples, and now, with the Dropcopter unmanned aircraft, measured quantities of pollen can be distributed 5 to 10 feet above the trees help the hard-working bees.
Pete Fleckenstein of Beak & Skiff explained the reason of the 100 year old, 800 acre orchard’s success lies in their commitment to deploying innovative technologies such as drone pollination.
“We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity to provide a test-bed for this cutting edge growing technique,” he said.
As one of the most popular apple growers in Central New York state, the orchard is proving an excellent testbed for Dropcopter’s precision agriculture technology.
“Dropcopter is excited to partner with Beak & Skiff as this effort brings together the region’s legacy industry, agriculture, with the burgeoning drone sector,” said Adam Fine, co-founder, Dropcopter. “We know that agriculture is one of the most significant points of entry for the commercial use of drones, and it holds the most opportunity to impact the industry and economy.”
Dropcopter is a finalist team that recently received a $250,000 investment as part of the 12 month GENIUS NY program. Originally from California, the company now operates from The Tech Garden Syracuse, New York. Part of the reason behind the move was the opportunity to test its technology in a region that leads the nation in innovation and development of drones.