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Wynca: Strengthens development of formulation and adjuvant for UAV application, Nongfeike Platform plays an active role in establishing benign eco-marketqrcode

Oct. 26, 2018

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Oct. 26, 2018
Editor’s note: “Pesticide products for future aerial application are required to be more efficient, safer and  adaptable to the lower requirements of aerial applications. Pesticides for aerial applications should be easy to use, without the need of dilution, and should be compatible for simplified mixing, to be packed in larger packages and liquid solutions, or to be granulated. Pesticides used for future aerial applications will be oriented to multiple-function formulations or formulation combinations, which will have the features of fast precipitation and wetting, resistance to drifting and evaporation, as well as a broad spectrum,” Qin Long, the Director of Technology Center at Wynca, said in an interview with AgroPages. Furthermore, he shared with AgroPages the advantages of formulation research  at Wynca, the encountered technical barriers and possible solutions, as well as  exploration,  performed by Wynca’s subsidiary, Nongfeike Platform, in respect  to aerial applications. He also offered  suggestions on establishment of a good aerial application eco-market.

Q1. How would you comment on the existing problems  of UAV plant protection products, at present, and what is the major technical barrier to solving these problems? Are there any potential solutions? What is the future trend of development  for UAV plant protection products?

The main existing problems at present: There is a serious lack of formulation products on the market, therefore what is actually done is just to use a certain amount of spraying adjuvants together with normal pesticide formulations, to try to ensure the effect of aerial applications. Formulations which are being used are mostly of small particle sizes, such as the formulations of SC, EC, EW, ME and WDG. It is not desirable to use normal pesticide formulations directly for aerial application, as normal pesticides are designed for use in large water amount spraying equipment, to meet the requirement of dispersibility, wettability and suspensibility. For conventional pesticide applications, each Mu (0.067 Ha) of land would needs 18-36 kilos of water for dilution at 3000-5000 folds. As regards aerial applications, each Mu (0.067 Ha)  of land needs only 500-1000 ml. of water for dilution, at only 30-50 folds. Besides, different vendors are using different solvents for pesticides  with the same content, which may cause pesticide agglomeration and layering, as well as nozzle jamming at the time of aerial applications. In more serious cases, repeated spraying and missing spraying can happen, which not only  reduces  the effectiveness of pest control, but also causes pollution, resulting from unused pesticides. This is not compliant  with the requirement of the objective of “reduction of the use of pesticide and fertilizer.”

Major technical barriers: How to maintain a high degree of dispersity of pesticides under low dilution conditions? Bearing in mind that the research of low altitude aerial application technology in China is relatively weak.

Possible solutions: To screen out appropriate active ingredients and pesticide adjuvants to develop high-content and high-soluble formulations for use in aerial applications, which should be subjected to very precise and extensive trials, just like normal pesticides, thus helping aerial applications to develop properly and soundly.

Future trends: Concerning future pesticide development in support of UAV applications, there is a need for development of pesticides of higher efficiency and higher safety, meanwhile being appropriate for low volume spraying operations.

Pesticides for aerial applications should be easy to use without the need  for dilution, and should be compatible for simplified mixing, to be packed in larger packages and liquid solutions or to be granulated. Pesticides used for future aerial applications will be oriented to multiple-function formulations or formulation combinations, which will have the features of fast precipitation and wetting, resistance to drifting and evaporation, as well as a broad spectrum.

Q2. Can you give a briefing of the advantages of the aerial application-oriented adjuvants and formulations produced by Wynca? How are the promotions and applications going on? In view of the current problems existing on aerial application-oriented pesticides, how will Wynca improve the product development in the future?

In 2017, Wynca conducted restructuring of its research institution, taking into account the agricultural service strategy of the company, thus to move towards integration of production and technical research. The research team, which is dedicated to aerial application-oriented pesticide and adjuvant development, has 26 staff members, including 1 doctorate and 25 post-graduate staff members. Wynca is also cooperating with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhejiang University of Technology, Nankai University and Nanjing Agricultural University, in research and development of aerial application-oriented pesticides and adjuvants. In the meantime, the research hardware facilities of Wynca are much improved, as all fundamental pesticide adjuvant analysis methods and equipment are made available. Wynca has its complete analytical appliances for analysis of contact angles, droplet sizes and droplet depositions, being able to conduct all necessary tests. We are now considering the setting  up of our product evaluation system.

So far, Wynca has  introduced several aerial application-use adjuvants, and is conducting nation-wide testing and trial applications via the Nongfeike Platform. At present, our third-generation aerial application-use adjuvant, Revoiate, has received  positive feedback from the market. Compared to other products, this one not only ensures evenly atomizing, wetting and spreading of pesticides, but also performs very well in its resistance to drifting and volatilization, which are crucial factors for successful aerial application operations.

To cope with the issues of agglomeration and precipitation existing on aerial applications, we are right now conducting research  into the whole pesticide system, and will gradually release solubilized adjuvants for aerial applications. Wynca is also working actively on research and development of pesticide formulations for aerial applications, focusing on applications to crops, such as  paddy rice, sugarcane and tea tree.

Q3. In the aerial application industry, what is the biggest challenge to Wynca in respect  to product development and promotion? How will you tackle the challenges and what is your future plans?

In 2018, the focus of aerial applications in China changed from the attention to the performance of agricultural drones  to concerns over the effect of crop protection, which shows that the market is becoming more practical and rational. Wynca started business deployment in aerial crop protection in 2015, as supported by Nongfeike service outlets all  throughout China, which could enable the collection of data  on aerial applications to various crops. Using its crop research institute as a strong backup, Wynca lays stress on development of products adapted to aerial applications. After years of hard work, , Wynca has developed a number of products adaptable to aerial applications, such as the aerial application-use adjuvant “Revoiate”, which has received positive feedback from the market. However, the process of registration of several products for aerial applications is proceeding  quite slowly, mainly due to ICAMA’s lack of explicit registration procedures and industry standards governing aerial application-use pesticides. The requirement of pesticides for aerial applications is quite vague. This causes difficulties for the development of products for  enterprises, yet it is believed that agricultural administration authorities will be able to provide clear instructions  as aerial applications are further developed .

So far as pesticides for aerial applications are concerned, Wynca’s solution is, on the one hand, to fully utilize its advantage of research capacity to add tank-mixed adjuvant to adapt to aerial applications, so as to solve the problem of agglomeration of normal pesticides. On the other hand, Wynca is conducting  indoor testing of a large number of tank-mixed pesticides in order to work out a regular pesticide combination for aerial applications covering a variety of crops, thus to ensure the effect of aerial applications. For the development of aerial crop protection in the future, it is essential to have more adaptable products. Therefore, Wynca is prepared to carry out research on pesticide and adjuvant mixing, formula development and rationality of content, to produce and  ensure the registrations of green pesticides, which are adapted to aerial application. Only by this approach, can we adapt ourselves to the needs of aerial application.

Q4. As we know that within the Chinese aerial crop protection industry, there is a so-called “4 in 1 community” which has been formed, which represent, respectively, UAV operator, UAV, UAV plant protection technology and aerial application formulations and adjuvants,  which is, however, still experiencing many  challenges in the course of collaboration. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge? What kind of mode of cooperation would be able to better promote an optimized development aerial application?

The “4 in 1 community” formation in UAV crop protection represents integrated operations of the UAV operator, UAV, UAV crop protection technology and aerial application formulations  and adjuvants.

It is now well acknowledged within the industry that the “4 in 1 community” formation is the only way that leads  to successful development of aerial crop protection. Agricultural drone vendors have the distinctive advantages of the UAV operator and drone, while conventional pesticide enterprises are qualified for the research of pesticides and adjuvants for aerial application, based on their experiences. On the other side, Chinese universities and research institutes have the advantage of governmental subsidies, which provides them with unique support in the  exploration of aerial crop protection technologies.

We all know that aerial applications will work well only if the UAV operator, UAV, UAV crop protection technology and aerial application formulation and adjuvant are integrated. However, in real world applications we will come across  many challenges, which I would summarize as the following 2 points:

1)    The 4 elements in the “4 in 1 community” still to be improved.

At the present time, no matter whether it is a drone vendor or a formulations enterprise, due to restrictions of their financing, sales networks and strategies, they are mostly conducting product development and market promotions from their own perspectives, and, thus, most of the enterprises still follow the route of “promotion of product to market”. Today, aerial crop protection needs products which can stand up to the market and stand the test of time. Moreover, there  is presently more theoretical research being performed on aerial crop protection technology,  than on practical applications.

2)    Lack of strong and supportive platform for integration of resources

Both the drone vendor or  formulations enterprise will not be able to do well on its own without the integration of UAV operator, UAV, UAV crop protection technology and aerial application formulation and adjuvant. This requires a strong and supportive platform, which is backed up by abundant capital and strong resource integration capacities. The platform needs to make every effort to consolidate resources of all players, and should not be limited to specific product brands. As such, the 4 elements in the “4 in 1 community” can be  properly integrated.

From the experiences of Nongfeike Platform in recent years, the purely crop protection business mode will  eventually be eliminated. Crop protection cannot go far if it is not integrated with agrotechnical services; it will not be sustainable if there is not an integrated aerial crop protection service package. To this end, Nongfeike has been trying to build  such a platform over the  past years, so as to consolidate upstream and downstream resources. Through the initiative, the easy-to-use drones and effective pesticides are  developed together, plus a satisfactory technical service,  so we can serve our clients better. This is the only  correct approach to the success of aerial crop protection, in  the long run.

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