Focus topic: Viticulture flying high – with spray drones and state-of-the-art nozzle technology

Drones in agriculture enable efficient application of plant protection products. Every plant can be treated quickly, cheaply and effectively, regardless of the terrain. With the increasing use of spray drones, work steps can be optimized and made easier. Thanks to greater area coverage and higher payload capacity, the cost of crop protection products is reduced considerably.

Focus topic: Viticulture flying high – with spray drones and state-of-the-art nozzle technology

Optimum nozzle technology for spray drones

With spray drones and the appropriate nozzle technology, you can apply plant protection products precisely - regardless of the weather. Lechler IDK 90 nozzles are characterized by their high efficiency, reduce drift and ensure optimum coverage of the plants. Biodynamic preparations and other biological plant protection products can also be applied using spray drones and the suitable nozzle technology in a way that is gentle on the plants and independent of the weather.

Advantages of using drones

The rough topography and steep slopes of the steep sites make it difficult to use conventional machinery and require a lot of manual labor. This increases the risk of injury for the workers and can generally lead to inaccurate plant protection applications. In addition, limited accessibility and maneuverability significantly increase the time and cost of cultivation.

Thanks to the use of drones, it is not only possible to reduce the physical workload, but also to minimize the environmental impact of plant protection treatments. The precise application of plant protection products reduces the impact on non-target areas enormously compared to application by helicopter.

Further advantages of using drones:

  • Cost savings: Drones are significantly cheaper to operate than conventional machines or helicopters.
  • No soil compression or damage: Drones avoid damage to the soil that can be caused by heavy machinery.
  • Independence from growth height: The growth height of the grass strip between the rows is irrelevant when applying with a drone.
  • Constant application height: A modern radar system ensures that the height of the drone is kept constant, which guarantees a uniform result over the entire area.
  • Weather-independent: Plant protection products can be applied shortly after a rainy period.
Challenges of viticulture on steep slopes

The special challenge of steep slopes

Baden-Württemberg (German state) has a total vineyard area of around 27,000 hectares, of which 7,000 hectares are classified as steep slopes. These areas, which are characterized by steep hillsides (> 30%), pose considerable challenges for cultivation. Traditional crop protection methods used on more moderate hillsides or flat areas often require the use of heavy, unwieldy equipment or even helicopters. These methods are not only cost-intensive, but also very physically demanding.

Of the 7,000 hectares of steep slopes, 1,200 hectares are purely cultivated by hand and 200 hectares can only be cultivated by helicopter. The effort required to cultivate the manually cultivated sites is enormous, with up to 1,500 hours per hectare. This shows how urgently innovative solutions such as the use of spray drones are needed to preserve these valuable cultivated landscapes and relieve the burden on farmers.

Spray drone technology

Technological advancements

"Smart & Precision Farming" no longer only stands for state-of-the-art tractor technology in terms of its automatic operation using GPS and RTK, but also for agricultural drones. Technologically adapted to the cultivation of agricultural land such as vineyards, spray drones are perfect for precise and efficient use in viticulture. Navigation satellite systems and real-time kinematics (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, RTK) ensure drone positioning accurate to the centimeter, while the spherical radar system avoids obstacles and adapts to the terrain. Integrated searchlights even make night flights possible without any problems.

In addition, so-called application maps for spray drones in viticulture can provide detailed plans that enable precise application of plant protection products and fertilizers in the vineyards, leading to more efficient and sustainable vineyard management. Furthermore, the precise and needs-based application of plant protection products and fertilizers not only increases yields, but also protects the environment. Ultimately, this technology enables targeted, gentle treatment of the vineyards, which leads to a higher quality of grapes and wine.

A global view of spray drone use

The above-mentioned advantages of using drones emphasize that drones will become increasingly important for agricultural applications in the future. Nevertheless, in Germany, spray drones that apply crop protection products are only used to a very limited extent due to regulations.

Globally, however, spray drones are also used for field crops such as corn and rice or in orchards. The advantages mentioned above also apply to these applications. The selection of nozzles for spray drones is generally larger worldwide despite country-specific regulations. The Lechler IDK 120, IDKT or LU 120 series are also used here. Drones with rotary atomizers are also in use around the world.


Contact Lechler Agriculture
Lechler India Pvt. Ltd.Business Division AgriculturePhone +91-22-40634444Fax +91-22-40634498lechler(at)