U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 74 (2010) 34–38


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.



The first variable-rate aerial application system was developed about a decade ago in the USA and since then, aerial application has benefitted from these technologies. Many areas of the United States rely on readily available agricultural airplanes or helicopters for pest management, and variable-rate aerial application provides a solution for applying field inputs such as cotton growth regulators, defoliants, and insecticides. In the context of aerial application, variable-rate control can simply mean terminating spray over field areas that do not require inputs, terminating spray near pre-defined buffer areas determined by Global Positioning, or applying multiple rates to meet the variable needs of the crop. Prescription maps for aerial application are developed using remote sensing, Global Positioning, and Geographic Information System technologies. Precision agriculture technology has the potential to benefit the agricultural aviation industry by saving operators and farmers time and money.