By Haylee Pence
COVINGTON — Apple Farm Service Inc. has partnered with Hylio to unveil new, self-spraying, agricultural technology involving precision crop autonomous drones.
The partnership was unveiled during a ceremony on Friday, April 7, which celebrated the “history of agriculture and aviation,” said Alexander Ryan, precision farming manager with Apple Farm Service.
The drones are self-flying and spot-spraying. During the ceremony, a drone was flown over the neighboring field demonstrating its ability.
“We will help change the future of agriculture,” said Ryan.
The drones are built in Texas by Hylio and offer various sizes that can “carry between 2.6 and 18 gallons of product,” according to Apple Farm Services website (www.applefarmserivce.com/news/coming-soon-hylio-drones-usa-made-spot-drones).
The drones will be able to carry any liquid for farmers to utilize including fertilizers and pesticides.
According to Hylio’s website (www.hyl.io), the benefits to using the drones include “increased yields, fewer chemicals, and easy to use.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Ryan presented the Apple Farm Services’ largest drone being dedicated as Ina’s Dream. Ina Apple is the wife of founder, Henry Apple. Ryan said he talked with others who knew Ina, who noted that she was “caring, nurturing, and passionate.”
“Those are things that Apple Farm stands for,” said Ryan.
State Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) spoke during the ceremony about the importance of agriculture in Ohio. He cited that agriculture is the primary industry in the state with “one-in-seven jobs being related to agriculture.”
The Ohio State University’s (OSU) representative Bob Horton spoke on the impact youth have on innovation and technology. OSU reaches children through the various 4-H programs and events. Horton talked about how the youth are more “open” to technology and advances referencing pre-germinated corn seed.
Also at the presentation, was OSU’s mobile STEM lab which is utilized for 4-H programs. Representatives from Rhodes State College were present, as well. They provided information on Rhodes State College’s agriculture technology degree program. Rhodes State also partners with Apple Farm Services for internships.
Apple Farm Services will be launching a mobile precision bus at the Ohio FFA Convention, according to Ryan.
For more information on the drones, contact Apple Farm Service’s precision farming department at 937-526-4851.