By Ryan Berry
COVINGTON — Move over tractors and crop dusters, the future of farming is now at Apple Farm Service, Covington. The agriculture and construction equipment business unveiled new equipment that is helping farmers get the most out of their fields.
Drones have been known for getting great pictures and video from above or you hear about the incredible work they do for the military, but now farmers are learning first-hand how they can be used in agriculture.
Apple Farm Service hosted a ceremony to unveil the Hylio drone on Friday, April 7 and announced they are this area’s only Hylio drone dealership. In fact, they are one of two dealers in North America. The closest dealership is in Louisiana. Apple Farm Service is the first dealership to offer parts and service.
As a contrast from the past to the present and beyond, Apple Farm Service held a flyover with a WWII era T6 Texan following the National Athem. Shortly thereafter, another flyover was held with a Hylio spraying drone.
These spraying drones are nothing like the kind you find flying over your backyard or covering events. The smallest of the drones is roughly the size of a medium-sized generator. The medium-sized done is approximately the length of a riding lawnmower and the largest drone is the size of a Volkswagon Beetle. Prices range from approximately $25,000 up to $90,000, but include extra batteries and attachments.
According to Apple Farm Service, Hylio drones are self-flying sprayer drones. These advanced drones range in size from five-feet to 15-feet with a capacity of two to 18 gallons of product. The drones have the ability to spray by themselves or can swarm spray by connecting up to four at the same time. Users can spot spray by manually picking spots on a computer/tablet/phone, or they can overlap data from previous scouting trips to spot spray or spray an entire field.
The Hylio drones are made in Texas and are 100 percent America made, which is a huge security benefit because their data is secure in the U.S. Another leading brand of agricultural drones is made in China and there are concerns that information from the drones could be shared with that government. The threat is real enough that several universities have banned the use of the Chinese-made drones and are switching to the Hylio drone.
Approximately 150 individuals attended the event and heard from State Representative Rodney Creech, The Ohio State University’s Bob Horten, Precision Farming Manager Alex Ryan and Apple Farm Service owner Bill Apple.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].