Today, along with Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in New York State, Dropcopter showcased what it claims was the first autonomous pollination of apples in the U.S.
Dropcopter, which uses a drone to pollinate tree crops, successfully demonstrated its Worker-Bee pollinator at the 800-acre orchard, which is home to more than 350,000 trees, in Lafayette, N.Y.
Each year, 400 hives of bees help pollinate Beak & Skiff’s crops. However, the potential to have drones supplement the pollination performed by bees offers the ability to distribute precise amounts of pollen five to 10 feet above the tree canopy and provide backup support to Mother Nature, explains business accelerator GENIUS NY, of which Dropcopter was a finalist team.
Dropcopter was recently awarded a $250,000 investment in round two of the yearlong GENIUS NY program. The company, which is from California, is operating from The Tech Garden in Syracuse, N.Y.
“Beak & Skiff has been proudly growing apples in central New York for more than 100 years, and we owe that longevity to our commitment to deploying innovative technologies that enable us to grow a high-quality product,” says Pete Fleckenstein of Beak & Skiff. “We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity to provide a test bed for this cutting-edge growing technique.”
“Dropcopter is excited to partner with Beak & Skiff, as this effort brings together the region’s legacy industry, agriculture, with the burgeoning drone sector,” adds Adam Fine, co-founder of Dropcopter. “We know that agriculture is one of the most significant points of entry for the commercial use of drones, and it holds the most opportunity to impact the industry and economy.”
Photos courtesy of Dropcopter