The FAA has granted Dropcopter a “part 137” exemption to operate unmanned aircraft for spray operations in The United States.
Last May, the GENIUS NY company conducted a variety of pollination trials on Apple Orchards in central New York. This was the first ever drone pollination of apples in the world - a partnership with Beak & Skiff and Reality Research.
One study yielded unexpected but incredible results: When apple trees bloom, the largest flowers called the “king blooms” open first. These King blooms turn into the largest and most prized apples, and command premium at Market. The difficulty is that a week later, secondary flowers open and produce smaller apples and reduce the quality of the overall crop. Orchards are forced to hand thin these fruit with manual labor, at a cost of $500/acre. But what if farmers could pollinate only the largest King blooms while preventing the small flowers from ever being pollinated? That's exactly what Dropcopter successfully tested. As soon as the large flowers opened, the trees were crop dusted with pollen, and then immediately netted in barriers, to prevent any further pollination. This not only saved the $500/acre cost of hand thinning, but also produced larger apples! An added bonus was that since the flowers were pollinated simultaneously, they grew at the same rate and have a uniform size and consistent color, removing the need to harvest an orchard section more than once. They are all ripe at the same time! These large King fruit are worth twice as much and sold direct to premium markets.
Lastly, customizing the choice of pollen applied improved consistent color of the fruit due to cross pollination. Dropcopters methods are patent pending and further tests on pollen effects are planned. The trial results are Illustrated in the included photo. Apples marked in green.
“The low altitude, and rural environment of farmland needs to be reexamined as a place where drone integration is pushed. We are very proud of our accomplishments, and with our 137 we will prove that Agdrones as a service is safe and profitable for the United States.” -Dropcopter