On March 6th, 2023, the Presentation Day of Results of the PhytoDron Operating Group took place at the Institute of Engineering of Spain (Madrid). Both in face-to-face and online format, this event joined about 400 people (100 in person and 300 online) and marked the conclusion of a project that commenced in March 2021.
The purpose of this Operating Group, taking into account the growing social concern regarding the sustainable use of plant protection products, was to promote the safe use of drones as a tool for applications of plant protection products. The initiative aimed to promote the regulatory framework of drones and to define use scenarios that can be equated with conventional terrestrial applications, removing them from the category of aerial and allowing their use in precision agriculture. This approach aligns with the European Green Pact Strategy and will help to achieve sustainable agriculture through the use of new technologies for sustainable intensification.
The initiative, titled “Operating Group PhytoDron: validation and safety of aerial applications with drones in the agroforestry environment,” had a budget of EUR 568,924.40 from European funds. Sixteen Spanish members, representing all the agro-industrial branches, including AEPLA, Corteva Agriscience, University of Seville, Baskegur, IRTA, Colegio de Ingenieros Agrónomos de Centro y Canarias, Neiker, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, INIA, DCOOP, Plataforma Tecnológico del vino, Syngenta, BASF, and INSST, collaborated in this project.
The tests were carried out on pine trees, representing the forest environment, and olive groves and vineyards, representing the agricultural environment. The results of these tests were released by the different members of the operational group during the Presentation Day.
The Operating Group members expressed that the initiative's implementation is necessary, considering the European framework in which we are, where the goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Additionally, they remarked that initiatives such as this promote the sustainable use of plant protection products and help in achieving this goal.
More information (just available in Spanish): https://gophytodron.es/