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Frequently Asked Questions

I am often asked why should I use an aeroplane for applying products on my crops. Hopefully some of the following Frequently Asked Questions will assist you when making the decision about whether or not utilising an aircraft is beneficial to your operation.

We are a large scale producer, can Robins Aviation handle the amount of work we have periodically?

Yes, Robins Aviation understands that workload is often determined by time of year. For example Rice Sowing or Top Dressing is a time of year where demand for aircraft is high. Robins Aviation has an excellent working relationship with a number of the largest aircraft operators in Australia and has the ability to call on resources such as aircraft and experienced pilots to assist during these periods of high workload. Robins Aviation is well placed to handle the workload of any sized operation.

What experience do you have? Do you know what you're doing?

Jim Robins has spent all his life working in agriculture, with the last fifteen years in the Aerial Application Industry, having worked all over Australia, predominately on flood irrigation and broard acre crop production of high value crops such as Cotton, Rice and Corn and of course Cereals, Legumes and Pulses.

Jim has gained this experience in areas such as the Murrumbidgie & Coleambally Irrigation Districts, The Darling Downs, The McIntyre, Gwydir and Namoi Valleys and spent many a cold winter in the Western Australian Wheatbelt to name a few.

Jim has been fortunate enough to have learnt his craft and skills from some of the most respected operators in the country.

How much does it Cost?

The cost varies significantly from job to job and therefore no one job can be priced the same. Every effort is made to keep the price competitive for every job we do. Aircraft are inherently expensive to operate and are no different to other forms of machinery. Smaller sized jobs can take a similar amount of time to complete as a larger job so therefore the price per hectare must reflect that! But as the job size increases so to does the efficiency, so again the price per hectare can reflect this efficiency.

Although the cost related to operating aircraft may seem high, the productivity of an aircraft used for application is also very high. Therefore when comparing to other methods of application the cost is quite comparable to other forms of application.

If you consider issues such as crop damage and soil compaction from wheel tracks left by ground rigs, the operating and purchase costs involved with modern spraying and spreading equipment, then of course the cost of labor to operate this equipment, the benefits of having your work completed hassle free in an efficient manner by someone that truly does know what they are doing, then the cost of employing an aircraft to provide a one stop shop for your spraying and spreading needs becomes obvious.

Modern high capacity spray rigs can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars and when the numbers are crunched are often a similar price to aircraft per hectare rates And you still can’t spread your urea with a self propelled boom sprayer.

For example, if you calculate the yeild loss per hectare, caused by ground rig knock down and soil compaction, then add the cost per hectare to hire or operate the ground rig, the overall cost will often be much more than the cost per hectare than using an aircraft in the first place.

Why should I use an Aircraft for aerial application?

Aircraft are perfectly suited for the application of agricultural chemicals, due primarily to the fact that the natural airflow over the wings of an aeroplane when flown over your crop pushes down into the plant foliage. If that airflow has your product introduced into it prior to contacting the plants, the natural washing effect that the moving air has around the target, is ideal for covering all the surface of your target plants.

Likewise, with crop pests such as insects or grubs chewing away at your crop they are exposed to that same airflow and in turn are covered just the same as the plant will be in the process.

Why is this important?

Well if you consider the often very expensive products that are recommended for use today, the importance of coverage on the target, particularly with many of the highly concentrated products used, it makes economic sense to utilise aircraft application to provide the most effective and least damaging target coverage available.

With ground based applicators the coverage tends to be only on the one side of the plant, generally in the direction of travel. Ground applicators are unable to produce that same mixing of the airflow in and around the plant that aircraft naturally achieve.

When can you do the job?

There can be many factors that influence when we can do a job for you including current demand. Weather can play a significant role, particularly when Herbicides are being used! But generally speaking we are able to complete most jobs within 24 hours of receiving an order.

During periods of high workload we will bring in extra aircraft, pilots, equipment and staff to handle the work during peak periods! Therefore clients are not waiting for extended periods to have their job completed. What does help us significantly, is if you can provide us with as much notice as possible of an expected application! This allows us to plan in your job to best fit in with your program.

How much can you carry?

The Airtractor 502 holds 502 Gallons in the US scale which is 1900 Litres converted. This allows for a 47 hectare load at 40 Lts application rate, or 95 hectare load at 20 Lts and so on. With the granulated products such as Urea the load sizes vary depending on the product and specific gravity of each product, but general rule of thumb is 1200 kg’s of Urea per load.

The answers to the questions posed in this section of the Robins Aviation Website are the opinions of the author, in this case Jim Robins. These opinions are based on many years experience and knowledge gained from operating aircraft in many varied circumstances and environments, and the wealth of knowledge gained from many of his peers throughout the aerial agricultural industry. Many of these peers are highly regarded in the industry and would account for many decades of hands on experience operating application aircraft. The opinions are not backed by any specific data or official trials or studies, and therefore should be considered just that! The opinion of the author.

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