Last updated by Nick S. on 07/12/2023

17 reasons to choose a DJI spray drone

A side-by-side comparison 


A spray drone can be very useful addition for property owners and contractors in Australia in 2023. But they are technical machines and not everyone has the time  to do all the research before making a decision. This table has been prepared as a summary of the important things to consider and what to look out for when doing your research.


Row

Feature

DJI Agras T40

Brand ‘X’ agricultural pro spray drone

1

Max droplet size 

500 microns.
Up to 500 microns meets more on-label instructions (chemical labels) therefore you can spray a wider range of chemicals. And Larger/heavier droplets typically means less spray drift.
Simple on-screen slider to adjust microns by the number. 

E.g. 400 microns (smaller droplets)
More limited chemical types and increased potential for spray drift.

2

Range (how far it can go)

2km (The maximum flight radius that can be set).

Whilst 2km is the max that can be set in the RC settings, the Effective Distance / is actually 7km as it has DJI 03 Agras (Ocusync). OcuSync is DJI’s state-of-the-art transmission system that they have been improving since they first introduced it. It’s far more reliable than Wi-Fi since it provides stronger transmission over long distances and in areas with interference. Ocusync has more transmission power, less latency, and higher resolution. Its unique to DJI and its commonly known amongst industry professionals that most if not all other systems are nowhere near as good. 

E.g. 1km (The maximum flight radius that can be set).

Because its without Ocusync, this can been even lower than 1km, due to obstructions and interference effecting non-Ocusync systems more.  This is a big consideration, especially for commercial operators. Losing transmission between your RC and aircraft can add risk and complication you just don't need when your out in a field. And having to move your position/ trailer more often to get closer to your drone can diminish productivity (hectares covered) per day. 

3

Spray width 'swath'

11 m at 2.5 m relative to operating height, flight speed 7 m/s)

E.g. 8 m at 3.5 m relative to operating height, flight speed 3 m/s)

In this example, this drone has a narrower swath, and even needs to fly higher and slower to achieve it. 

4

Tank capacities 

Liquid tank: 40L
Granular tank (spreader): 50kg

E.g. Liquid tank: 50L
Granular tank (spreader): 50kg

An extra 10L liquid is good but only if the total workflow efficiency is considered and the net result is more hectares sprayed per day. Consider this analogy: when painting a room, a larger tin of paint is a gain, but not if its too heavy to move around the room, and your roller is narrower, and pole is shorter.   

5

Remote Controller (RC)

Large proprietary RC with built-in screen.

Large bright 7-inch touch LCD screen to view and manage essential controls and instruments.  8-core CPU for built-in prescription-map making.

When out in the field you often have sun glare and pressure to get your hectares done. You need clear on-screen information to manage the job and feel confident and safe in your operations.

Sync everything to DJI SmartFarm to do pre/post job analysis including elevation analysis and things like orchard tree counting.   Just one piece of equipment to use, nothing else to add. DJI technology is powerfully interconnected

E.g. No screen (need to use phone).

Phone screen often too small and not bright enough. Result: cant see enough mission information, cant see it clearly and difficult to tap individual options especially with large fingers. Also if its your own phone you wont be able to take calls and will have to keep attaching and detaching the phone and cable. No image processing (map making) capability on board the RC. And a small controller size overall is more cramped and less comfortable for large hands.

6

Mapping and variable rate spraying

Use the DJI Mavic 3 Multispectral (M3M) mapping drone to create a regular map or NDVI map of your crop. DJI Terra will create a variable rate prescription mission for the T40. Or choose to manually draw polygons (with PC mouse) around sections of the crop  that need spraying. M3M + T40 is a powerful combination that can result in much smarter spraying than simply spraying everything and with the same application rate. 

No decent mapping drone (regular or multispectral) therefore no mapping + spraying connected workflow. You simply have to spray everything and all at the same rate. 

7

Mobility and weight 

38kg without battery and empty spray tank.

Users often carry their aircraft short distances e.g. on to the trailer when changing position in field or from trailer into shed at end of day.

E.g. 54kg without battery and empty spray tank.

Not practical when simply wanting to move it from your trailer to the ground ( to take off point) and vice a versa. Requires 2 people every time which effects workflow efficiency.  If the tank is detachable and the weight comes down to 46kg without tank this is still too heavy for one person.

8

RTK

D-RTK2 mobile station.

Good solid RTK connection via proprietary D-RTK2 mobile station. No dependency on phone coverage and no time constraint between boundary marking and spraying. Tried and tested, used by many DJI aircraft for such as T40, T30, T20 M350RTK, M3M, P4-RTK etc.
RC can be turned on prior to going out to the field, so base map is pre-loaded on screen and ready to go.

Once activated, the T40 can operate without Wi-Fi and without phone coverage. 

E.g. Simulated RTK
Uses a kind of 'simulated RTK' . Often requires spraying to be done within just 2.5 hrs of marking your boundaries / preparing your mission which can remove flexibility to spray when you need to e.g. when wind has dropped.

Fixed base station
Option to use a fixed base station (permanent e.g. mounted on a shed roof) - these can have a good range of say 40-50km but cant be moved around and usually require constant phone coverage (LTE) to work - not useful for many parts of rural Australia, especially for contractors who are moving around all the time. 

9

Battery management 

Fly's on 1 battery
Need 4 batteries for 4 flights.

E.g. Needs 2 batteries to fly

Need 8 batteries for 4 flights . More charging , less mobility, more handling and more workflow complexity (more items to pack up each time you move your position in field). 

10

Minimum granule size spreader can handle 

0.5 mm (500 microns)
More flexible to accommodate finer particles 

E.g. 1 mm (1000 microns)
Less flexible to accommodate finer particles 

11

Hovering Accuracy w/radar on

Without RTK: Horizontal ±60 cm, Vertical ±10 cm
RTK Enabled: Horizontal ±10 cm, Vertical ±10 cm

E.g. Without RTK: Horizontal ±60 cm, Vertical ±30 cm
RTK Enabled: Horizontal ±10 cm, Vertical ±10 cm

If the drones vertical height keeps moving up and down by an extra 20cm this can make spray width (swath) less consistent and therefore can increase potential for under-spray / over-spray 

12

Water and dust proof (IP rating)

IP67
(Ingress Protection in simple  terms means how easily dust/solid particles and water can get in).

The T40 is "IP67" meaning it has level 6 protection against solid particles greater than 1mm, and level 7 protection against immersion in water up to 1m deep (e.g. if forced to land in a dam).

E.g. IPX6
'X' means not tested for protection from solid particles (such as dust). '6' means can typically handle water spray but not being submerged (submersion tolerance is from level 7). 

13

Tested / time in market

T40 has been selling in China since Dec 2021, and in Australia since Dec 2022. Predecessor the T30 selling in Australia since 2020 and known as a dependable spraying machine. 

E.g. Available in Australia since Sep 2023. Wise to check the dependability and quality (track record) of any OEMs previous models with users. 

14

Experience with spray drones / First mover  

DJI Agras MG-1 came out in 2015 

E.g. First model came out 2017 

15

Commitment to Australia and local distribution 

DJI Australia Service Centre in Keysborough VIC , and extensive DJI Dealer network 

E.g. No OEM service centre in Australia. One independent organisation tasked with all sales and support.

16

company size and market share 

Estimated more than 85% market share of global drone market. DJI currently employs over 14,000 employees. 25% of DJI's employees are research and development-based, a testament to the company's focus on innovation. 

E.g. Less than 1000 staff, likely less than 8% market share of global drone market 

17

Company depth and breadth of offerings

Enormous depth an breadth of resources as evidenced in their long product list and time line, controller development, RTK system, Ocusync transmission technology,  camera / mapping drones such as the M3M , and map making software's Terra and Smart Farm. 

E.g. Limited models made, no reputable camera / mapping drone or user software. 

Final thoughts

The T40 is a dependable spraying machine created by an unapparelled R and D team. This team has evidently focussed their attention on the entire workflow in order to maximise hectares sprayable per year, and for the most years (longevity). If the T40 is lower cost than the example model, this would further compound the already overwhelming proposition for the T40. 

In this example comparison, the long list of factors above are highly relevant and important considerations when purchasing an asset/machine for your property or contracting business.  The extra 10L liquid capacity is an isolated advantage and one that can easily lead to anchoring bias. 






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