As the global population is mushrooming rapidly, growing food insecurity challenge requires rise in the agricultural produce. According to the World Bank Group data, the global population has surged from 6.922 billion in 2010 to 7.674 in 2019. However, with continous rise in dearth of natural resources- land and water- there is a constant need to adopt modernized farming methods and equipment which enables the conservation of these resources and other inputs by ensuring their efficient distribution. It also reduces unit costs of production through higher productivity yields while focusing on input conservation.
Global Total Population Data, in Billion, 2010 to 2019
Source: The World Bank Group
With crop production constantly exposed to dynamic and unpredictable challenges, crop nutrition and pest protection are most important and delicate aspects of farm management. The rising levels of greenhouses gases and global temperature are directly affecting the spread of pests and diseases in crops. According to the study led by a team of researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Colorado Boulder, crop losses is estimated to be most acute in areas where warming increases both population growth and metabolic rates of pests and insects. In a 2016 study, an analysis of 1,300 known pathogens and pests estimated their potential cost to global agriculture at over US$40 billion annually if they continue to spread. As such, rapid shift from traditional to advanced farming techniques to increase the agricultural productivity while saving crops from getting destroyed by pests and insects is accelerating the need for agricultural sprayers.
Agricultural sprayers are a special type of farm equipment which are used for the application of liquid fertilizers and pesticides during the crop growth cycle. These remarkable farming tools are available in various sizes and types, from hand-held and manual sprayers to large trailed or mounted sprayers, followed by advanced atomizers. Versatile, large-scale farmers and farm co-operations have also started practicing aerial spraying.
The most critical stages of crop production is the period between planting and harvesting. Crops need fertilizers for the uptake of necessary nutrients for proper growth and development while they should also be taken care of to eliminate weeds and infestation by crop pests and insects. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global demand for fertilizer nutrient use is projected to surge from 184,017 thousand tonnes in 2015 to 201,663 thousand tonnes in 2020.
Global Demand For Fertilizer Nutrients, in Thousand Tonnes, 2015 to 2020
Source: The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The step of controlling weeds and pests also requires the use of agrochemicals such as herbicides and insecticides. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 1,000 pesticides that are used around the world to ensure the safety of food crops from insects and pests. According to the FAO statistics, the global trade volume of pesticides increased from 10,230,567 tonnes in 2015 to 11,552,828 tonnes in 2018. Another reason for the high demand for pesticides is the growing plantation of GMO crops which are increasingly becoming more and more resistant to pesticides which, in turn, is further surging their usage in order to prevent the crop loss.
However, high usage of pesticides is not only dangerous to the environment but also to human health. According to the WHO, pesticides are among the leading causes of death by self-poisoning, especially in low- and middle-income countries as they are intrinsically toxic and spread in the environment. The most at-risk population are farmers and agricultural workers who apply pesticides and are directly exposed to these chemicals. Many studies worldwide have also proved the link between pesticides and diseases such as cancer, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and even birth effects. These chemicals also pollute the water sources and thus, throw the whole ecosystem off balance. Also, the excess use of chemical fertilizers has led to a decline in the soil fertility.
In order to spray these chemical in a limited but effective quantities, agricultural sprayers have become an essential piece of agricultural sector for effective crop production and protection. By properly and efficiently applying chemicals to control weeds, insects, and diseases, farmers can give their crops the best chance for high yields.
Traditionally, the spraying of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides is done by a farm worker carrying a backpack type sprayer which requires more human effort. With growing adoption of modern farm equipment, the demand for easy-to-use and operate agricultural sprayers is booming at a remarkable rate. With the use of mechanized spraying equipment and machines, agrochemicals are distributed evenly on the farm and reduces the quantity of waste, resulting in the prevention of losses and wastage of input. As against conventional spray technology that requires excessive pesticide use to achieve effective pest control in crop production, new precision agricultural sprayers apply optimum amount of pesticide. Type of agricultural sprayers include hand-held sprayers, airblast sprayers, and aerial sprayers. Emerging popularity of drone sprayers is also playing an important role in the growing agricultural sprayers market. The use of agricultural drones for spraying is rising at a significant rate in order to reduce the amount of crop loss due to pest and insect attacks. Moreover, the relaxation of regulations regarding the use of drones in many countries is also paving the way for drone manufacturers to capture this spraying segment of agricultural equipment market.
Global agricultural sprayer manufacturers are continuously diversifying their product portfolio while collaborating with each other to expand their customer base. FLIGHTS Co., Ltd, a Japanese drone company which promotes the use of drones in various industries, developed its own cost-effective drone for spraying pesticides in 2019. John Deere expanded its 4-Series Sprayers range by introducing its biggest sprayer so far- the 1,600-gallon capacity R4060 Sprayer. LEMKEN launched self-propelled field sprayer NOVA which is able to perform a variety of operations with low noise and stress level. New Holland launched ‘Defensor 2500’ which is an advanced sprayer and is designed to protect Brazilian crops.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anjali Joshi is a senior market research analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence. She oversees a team of analysts and is known for the quality of market intelligence she delivers to the clients which range from start-ups and Non-profit Organizations to Fortune 500 companies. Anjali’s keen understanding of international business and market dynamics, coupled with her years of experience working in this industry, allows her to analyse current and future trends across both global and clients’ target markets and help them in making informed decisions.