Brazilian agricultural aviation will turn 75 in 2022. Along this trajectory, the business has undergone several transformations, with advances in both application forms and aircraft models. Currently, the country holds the position of the second largest agricultural air force on the planet, with a fleet of 2,400 aircraft spraying more than 80 million hectares / year, according to estimates by the National Union of Agricultural Airlines (Sindag).
The evolution of the industry follows the incorporation of new technologies, which offer greater performance and accuracy in applications. In this scenario, the right choices are crucial in the pursuit of productivity and crop quality, and it is essential that field applications take place in a safe and decisive manner.
“Some of the most difficult decisions in agriculture are the choices of inputs, especially those used in plant protection. Furthermore, we must be sure that the product reaches its goal ”, says Luis Gustavo Nunes, manager of agricultural development of Usina Alta Mogiana, in São Joaquim da Barra (SP). “We were able to obtain greater safety and positive results with the training of teams of pilots, associated with the Aeronautics Application Technological Workshop”, referring to the calibration of the spraying system of agricultural aircraft.
– Aerial Application Technology Workshop (OTAA) –
The Aircraft Application Technology Workshop (OTAA), to which Nunes refers, is a set of actions that seeks the utmost precision in the calibration of spraying airplanes. The regulation takes into account the detailed analysis of a number of factors. Among the main advantages are the indication of the ideal width of the working field, a uniform jet, better performance and greater safety in the service performed.
“It’s a distribution of knowledge, you use equipment to analyze the collection thread and collect data, but in the process everyone involved literally gets their hands dirty. Whether they are pilot, agricultural technician, farm manager, input supplier, in short, everyone follows how the correct calibration of the aircraft takes place to supply the necessary quantity, where it is needed and in the best possible way “, sums up Antonio Loures S. Jr .., CEO of AG Solution and expert in technology for aerial applications.
The specialist explains that all details are taken into account and mentions, for example, the size of the droplets and whether the delivery is really what it was designed for. “A simple nozzle adjustment can lead to calibrations with a coefficient of variation of less than ten percent of the flow per hectare. If you disagree, stop the plane, calibrate it and adjust it, so you get the best application rate per liter / hectare, ”says Loures.
The OTAA technology has been available in Brazil since March 2021. Developed by an American company in collaboration with the USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, it has been improved and adapted by AG Solution to the Brazilian reality, taking into account factors such as changes in climate. “We import knowledge and equipment, such as the multispectrophotometer, which is considered the most important of the whole system. We developed everything else here, it took us about a year to work to adapt the concept to the needs of the pitch in Brazil, ”reflects Loures.
National reference in aerial applications, the agronomist Glauberto Moderno Costa states that the Aerial Application Technology Workshop uses the concept of PDCA, acronym for Plan, Do, Check and Act and which is used in the quality management of processes.
“It is a service in which all the application processes interact, from the agronomic need, to the selection of products, to the application team and, specifically, to the aeronautical and ground team. And this is where the whole process applies, backwards. In this way it prepares professionals with concepts between theory and practice, in search of sustainability ”, states Moderno.
OTAA is an exchange of knowledge and experience, with theoretical and practical training. With at least a full day of diving, it is an opportunity for all professionals to train and improve, keeping up with new technologies and best practices for aerial spraying. For the pilot, in particular, it is a way to increase operational performance, ensuring safety in operation and offering what is truly possible. On the other hand, for the manufacturer, the Workshop allows for better performance of the application and knows what the equipment can actually deliver.
In Mato Grosso do Sul Janio Sanávria, chief pilot at Usina Sonora / Rio Corrente Agricola, guarantees that the return, with learning, is certain. “Looking at the quality and productivity of our current grain crop compared to last year, I have no doubt that the investment the company made to improve and train the pilot team and ground staff has been rewarding. Today we have better productivity, thanks to the quality of the aerial application, coupled with the monitoring done by the support professionals, ”he says.
The optimization of the results takes place within global standards of economic, social and environmental sustainability. “A calibrated aircraft operating within its capabilities is synonymous with more product in the field and very low risk of drift. We join efforts to offer customers solutions that increasingly help the assertiveness of operations, as well as the adoption of good agricultural practices. Profitability and sustainability go hand in hand “, concludes Antonio Loures S. Jr.