Controlling Japanese Beetles in a Vineyard with a Drone Pesticide Sprayer

April 2020

FAA not conducting drone reviews due to COVID. Consulted with Casey (FAA advisor).

May 2020

No small drones (under 55 pounds) available (made in China). Due to Pandemic  and lack of drone  decided to control Japan Beetles conventionally (ground sprayer from truck).

June 2020

First sighting of Japanese Beetle on June 28th. Continue looking for small drones. None available.

July 2020

Beetles on mass especially in the NW corner of the south field.

August 2020

Last spraying for Japanese Beetle. Small drone (borrowed) took aerial view of south field (producing field).

September 2020

Picked grapes. Detailed record of production.

October-December 2020

No small drones available for purchase.

January 2021

Unable to purchase drone for spraying. Looking at other options.

June 2021

Received extension of 11 months for grant. Received approval to switch to an Autonomous Ground Vehicle Sprayer.

July 2021

Began search for University Ag. Group to help in perfecting the Autonomous Ground Vehicle Sprayer.

August 2021

Early Pick. Began picking Marquette grapes

September 2021

Finished picking grapes. Detailed record of production.

January 2022

Presented Autonomous Ground Vehicle Sprayer project to Robotics Club at SDSU (South Dakota State University.) 

February -October 2022

Sprayer is being built and refined by the SDSU Robotics Club in Brookings South Dakota. Twenty-three students have been working approximately five-six hours per week with a break over summer. Progress on the autonomous sprayer includes a cover to waterproof the electronics and connect to the batteries. Sprayer arms were made and attached onto the platform. CPU board was added to the sprayers to be controlled by remote control. Emergency stops and obstacle detection sensors were added. See the team picture below.

September 2022 

Late pick. Began picking Frontenac Gris grapes. Marquette pick started four days later. Bumper crop for Marquette grapes due to lack of rain, high heat, and dew Japanese Beetles.

October 2022

Field Day Demo in Vineyard (Autonomous Drone Sprayer) October 2nd at 12:30 pm.

Videos  showing the drone sprayer in action.

Images from the Field Day.