Seeding a savanna restoration or silvopasture by hand is a lot of work! We’ve walked hundreds of miles flinging seed from a bucket nestled under one arm. So, we began dreaming about seeding these areas aerially by using a drone.
We knew there would be challenges in developing this new technology, especially considering the fluffy, native grass seed it would have to be capable of spreading. After several experiments and dozens of prototypes we were ready for our first field test.
First, we seeded a mix of fluffy native grass and dense wildflower seed over the top of the trees in some savanna restorations. We spread mixes that were designed for the wet and dry soil areas. Then we spread the miniature-BB-like seeds of a cover crop over the top of standing corn. When a rainy day made the soil too wet for a tractor, we used the Aerial Spreader instead.
In all of these situations, the Aerial Spreader distributed seed where the tractor could not. However, even in sites where a tractor could spread seed, the Aerial Spreader could do as much work in one day as the tractor. The Aerial Spreader had worked well in all of these test seeding projects, and subsequent modifications made it even better. We applied for a patent and, in 2020, this product became available for purchase.