Ag Aviation Africa holds the sole distribution rights for Air Tractor® Aircraft in Africa. We have a history of over 40 years of agricultural aviation experience and over 60 years of general aviation experience in Africa and elsewhere around the world. During our time, we have developed an infrastructure and supplier network that allows us to provide consultancy services, sales, after-sales support and operational assistance to large farms and aerial spraying companies. We have become a value-added partner to farming companies across the continent. Some large commercially operated farms also run their own agricultural aviation operations. We are here to assist with your aerial management solutions.
Air Tractor ® agricultural aircraft focuses on the aerial application of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, growth regulators, fertilisers, vector control and seeding from the air. Additionally, the aircraft are also suited for firefighting, geological surveillance work for the mining sector, forestry seeding/protection and border control missions, fuel hauling and oil spill disaster management.
Benefits of Aerial Application
Benefits include the speed of application, ability to work unabated while land-based machines cannot operate in wet soil, no soil compaction, no crop damage or disease spreading, greater chemical effectivity, more uniform spraying patterns, no dust problems, reduced effect of poor quality water, variable rate technology and reduced input costs.
Economical coverage, low costs of operations, aircraft are easy to maintain, aircraft are very manoeuvrable and can accurately hit the target areas.
Services & Support
We can send parts, and maintenance technicians anywhere in Africa and the resources to provide assistance in long-term aircraft financing, provide outright aircraft purchase options and or leasing models.
We offer the following particular services in Africa.
The Role of Aerial Application
Today the agricultural aircraft is an important tool in assisting in the production of food, fibre, and biofuels (such as corn used in ethanol production and soya beans for biodiesel).
Without the use of crop protection products, there would be an increase in crop damage caused by insects, weeds, and diseases which would drastically decrease crop yield per hectare, and dramatically increasing the prices for the consumer. Without the use of spraying, it would be impossible for today’s farmers to produce enough supply of agricultural goods needed on the current land available to farm.
An aircraft can accomplish three or four times the amount of work in a day compared to ground support equipment or any other form of application which means less fuel used, less pollution and no soil compaction or crop loss resulting from the potential harm that ground equipment might cause to the crop or the land which also results in higher yields for the farmer. So, the farmers are saving money while saving their environment. Overall, aerial application is one of the most effective means as it benefits both farmers and consumers.
To adequately obtain enough food from the earth and still leave room for wildlife, recreation, and other land uses there must be an increase in agricultural production on the land that we are currently using. High yield agriculture includes the responsible use of crop protection products also known as crop medicines or pesticides. These products benefit the environment by producing maximum crop yields from fewer hectares.
Aerial application is a critical component in the achieving of higher yield agriculture. Agricultural products that aerial applicators assist in producing include fibre products (cotton for clothing), and forest products (wood and paper). These products also help farmers in producing nutritious fruits, vegetables, grains in the production of corn, soybeans and other crop used for both food and biofuels.
Agricultural aircraft are also used to control overgrown vegetation in areas needed for roads and power lines, prepare forests with new seedlings, maintain pasture land for livestock, and to fight wildfires that threaten our homes and forests.
Agricultural aircraft can be used to apply many different types of products including seeds and fertilisers. They also apply crop protection products which are used to control weeds, insects and fungus and harvest aid products like defoliants and desiccants used in preparing crops for an earlier higher-grade harvest.
Some farmers apply their crop protection products on the ground using ground machinery, but many have realised that using an ag plane to do this work is often more efficient and effective. Aircraft are not hindered by wet and flooded fields, conditions found in rice production, or heavy rainfalls, nor are they hampered by heavy canopies covering the rows as might be found in orchards or fields of mature corn or soya beans.
Advantages of aerial spraying in greater detail.
1. The speed of application.
2. Travel over wet fields.
3. No Soil Compaction.
One of the most apparent advantages of aerial application is no soil compaction. Driving ground equipment through a field leaves wheel tracks and compacts soil particles, reducing pore space and restricting oxygen and water movement into and through the soil and root zone. That compaction can be particularly severe on wet soil, sometimes making the soil like a brick and reducing yields. Wet soil never stops aerial applicators from spraying.
4. No Crop Damage.
Damage from wheel tracks can be substantial, depending on crop stage and soil condition. Moving ground equipment through a field also inevitably damages the crop, sometimes up to five percent of the plants. That damage can reduce crop yield much more than the cost of an aerial application.
5. Chemical Effectivity
Many pesticides are only effective at specific pest and crop growth stages. If a grower misses that application window, those pesticides may not work, and the crop can be lost. Once application starts, aerial applicators can apply large areas much faster, spraying more acres in an hour than a ground applicator can in a day. The ability to apply pesticides rapidly at their optimum time is a significant advantage of aerial application.
6. More Uniform Spraying Pattern
The extra height above the crop canopy with an aerial application can help create a more uniform spray pattern. Nozzles can be too close to their target and give an uneven application, especially when a ground boom does not stay level in rough and uneven terrain. An aerial application can also apply seed and dry fertiliser formulations more uniformly than ground application, giving higher yield potential.
7. No dust problems.
Some herbicides such as Glyphosate are affected by dust on the target. Aircraft do not have this problem.
8. Reduced effect of poor quality water.
Some pesticides are affected by poor quality water supply. High pH or contaminants such as dirt or calcium can reduce the effect of many pesticides. Aircraft have the advantage in that they use less water and the load is sprayed out very quickly. Both of these factors are known to reduce the negating effects that poor-quality water has on some pesticides.
9. Pilots are highly qualified.
10. Variable Rate Technology.
Today’s ag aircraft use sophisticated precision application equipment such as GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), real-time meteorological systems, variable-rate flow control valves, single-boom shut-off valves and smokers to identify wind speed and direction.
11. Reduces Input Costs.
Growers often want to delay applications to reduce input costs, particularly when crop prices are low. They hope the pest infestation will not develop enough to reduce yield, or that only one application will be effective if they wait for weeds to germinate or insects to hatch. When growers wait, aerial application is the best way to go.
12. Greater Opportunities
Late season application of pesticides and fertilisers are a rapidly growing opportunity for aerial application. Growers increasingly need to apply fungicides, fertiliser, insecticides and plant growth regulators at late crop stages.
The crop is never too big for aerial application although you will likely need a deposition and retention aid to get a pesticide to penetrate into the canopy and deposited where required.
Experts have extensively studied and found that late application of nitrogen fertiliser on corn, as part of a two-step early and late system, gives higher yields with less total nitrogen applied. That system consistently offers the highest corn yields. Aerially making a second fertiliser application is now standard practice.
A new opportunity for aerial application is corn stubble management. The use of foliar fungicides and biotech insect resistance traits have increased stalk strength and slowed decomposition. The stalk residues can damage expensive tires and make planting and cultivation difficult. Aerial applicators can now apply biological products like GarrCo Digest™ to help manage tough corn stalk stubble.