Getting more done in less time is a constant staple of modern farming. Helping producers keep pace, the Agtegra Cooperative Aerial Application Fleet applies advanced flight technologies to make more timely, efficient and effective crop nutrient and crop protection product applications.
Agtegra operates a fleet of seven aircraft with home bases in Clark, Harrold, Highmore, Huron, Miller, Mitchell and Webster, SD. Our cooperative also operates several self-contained loading systems, which allow the planes to set up at almost any airport across the territory to better serve our member-owners.
Aerial application is certainly worth considering, according to Craig Bair, Aerial Operations Manager for Agtegra. “Agricultural aircraft can apply all types of pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides,” says Bair. “They can also apply both dry and liquid fertilizers. Ag aircraft can even be used to drop seeds, such as cover crops.”
Considerations for Choosing Aerial Application
Aerial application has been a growing trend in the Corn Belt over the past 10 years. Bair says that farmers have been very pleased with the results they’ve been getting by treating their crops with ag aircraft.
While aerial application may have a higher cost per acre than other application methods, the potential boost in bushels far offsets the cost difference.
“There are two major benefits to producers when using aerial application,” says Bair. “Those benefits are increased yield and the ability to be more timely with applications. Applications are timelier because ag aircraft can apply when the ground is wet and treat more acres than a ground rig. Agricultural aircraft can provide better coverage without damaging the crop during application.”
The precise aerial applications are accomplished using differentially corrected GPS units, which are capable of determining the aircraft’s position 20 times per second, with an accuracy of less than one foot.
GPS also helps with swath guidance, application tracking and recordkeeping.
Numbers Tell The Story
Ag aircraft can be used for any application, not just those that most people think aerial applications are best suited for. A Purdue University study on the application efficacy of fungicides on corn when applied by ground, aerial and chemigation applications further demonstrated that aerial application exceeds other application methods, in terms of yield:

  • Untreated acres: 189.2 bushels per acre
  • Ground application: 210.9 bushels per acre
  • Chemigation: 214.3 bushels per acre
  • Aerial application: 228.4 bushels per acre

“I hope we’ll continue to see more and more Agtegra customers seeing the value of aerial application,” Bair says. “Every dollar is important when producers are evaluating their expenses, and aerial application pays dividends in the long run.”

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