Company Announces Results of Apple Pollination Testing
Syracuse, NY – Dropcopter recently received its Part 137 Exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate unmanned aircraft for spray operations in the United States. The company has new evidence to that its unique pollination capabilities can result in better crop yields and anticipates that its new exemption will result in additional research and ultimately new business as orchards look to tap into the company’s technology.
Last May, the company which is taking part in round two of the GENIUS NY competition, conducted a variety of pollination trials on apple orchards in Central New York. Its partnership with Beak & Skiff Orchards voted the best apple orchard in the United States, and Reality Research resulted in the company conducting the first ever drone pollination of apples in the world.
The company recently released the results of their test pollinations and the impact it could have on all orchards. The company found it was able to target the largest “king blooms” while preventing smaller flowers from being pollinated. This is important given that when apple trees bloom, the largest flowers called the king bloom open first and turn into the largest apples which command double the price at market. Usually, it’s the secondary flowers that open a week after the king blooms and produce smaller apples and reduce the quality of the overall crop. When this happens orchards are forced to hand thin these fruit with manual labour, at a cost of more than $500/acre.
Knowing this, Dropcopter was able to pollinate the larger king blooms as soon as they opened and then immediately netted the trees with a bee barrier to prevent any further pollination.
In addition to producing bigger, high-quality fruit, Dropcopter’s pollination also enabled pollination to happen simultaneously across the orchard which resulted in the blooms growing at the same rate with a uniform size. This allows a farmer to harvest trees at one time instead of multiple passes sitting more labour cost. Lastly the ability to customize the pollen used made improved and consistent colour. This method is patent pending and results are illustrated by the apples marked in green.
“The low altitude and rural environment of farmland need to be reexamined as a place where drone integration is pushed,” said Adam Fine co-founder of Dropcopter. “We are very proud of our accomplishments with this research. With our new 137 Exemption, we will be able to conduct further studies and prove that utilizing drones for this type of agriculture is not only safe but profitable for farmers and orchard owners across the United States.”
The company plans additional tests in walnuts avocados and stone fruit. They are currently raising capital and plan expansion into foreign markets in 2019. To learn more please visit www.dropcopter.com.
Dropcopter is the world’s first automated pollination service commercially available. We use unmanned aircraft to pollinate Orchards, increasing crop set and yields. In periods of Bee scarcity or low activity, Dropcopter can replace bee pollination with a reliable fast and profitable alternative. Dropcopter can operate in the cold and at night when bees cannot, doubling a critical two-week bloom window for Orchard Growers.
About GENIUS NY
GENIUS NY is an in-residence business accelerator program at The Tech Garden in Central New York that goes beyond substantial direct investment. In addition to $3 million in total investment for five teams, the program also offers incubator space, company stipends, resources, programming, and connections, making it among the largest competitions of its kind across the globe. The program is made possible by $5 million in funding support provided by Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency.