Feeding fish – with a DJI Agras drone

DJI Agras feeding fish

DJI’s Agras industrial drone is a workhorse. It’s intended for spraying pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer, but has been put to other uses as well. During the early months of COVID, some of these units were deployed in China to spray disinfectant. They’ve also been used in anti-malarial programs to kill off mosquito larvae. But feeding fish? That’s a new one.

We’re always fascinated when someone comes up with a new use-case scenario for drones, whether it’s the firefighting drone by EHang we wrote about recently, or the amazing shape-shifting Skygauge machine that can do jobs nearly no other drones can carry out. Point is, we’re always seeing either new drones that can do new things… or people figuring out that existing drones can be put to uses their inventors had likely never considered.

Case in point? Feeding fish.

DJI Agras feeding fish

Let’s imagine you have a huge fish farm. Further imagine that you’re raising Koi, those gentle fish that are the favorites of many for ponds and aquariums. Those fish are in multiple ponds, and – or course – you need to feed them regularly.

Doing this manually is time-consuming and, well, probably a bit boring. What if you might be able to automatically dispense their food by drone?

A test at a Koi farm

There’s a company in the US, in eastern Iowa to narrow it down, called Kloubec Koi Farm. The company is a leader in raising and selling high-quality Koi – which can fetch up to $10,000 for more exotic varieties (there’s more than one type of Koi). It features more than 55 mud ponds, which means a lot of work when it comes to feeding.

And so it came to be that the folks at the Kloubec Koi Farm got connected with a company called Aerial Influence, which does consulting, demonstrations, and sales. It focuses on the Enterprise, First Responder, Agriculture, and other sectors.

But fish? That’s a first.

Feeding fish with a DJI Agras

Could it be done? The guys at Aerial Influence explain, in the description for the YouTube video you’ll see in a moment:

We get calls every day from different businesses and organizations who want to use drones to improve the way they operate. When we got a call from the owner of the Kloubec Koi Farm in Iowa, even we were surprised when they wanted to feed their 80 acres worth of fish, using an agricultural drone. So, we packed up the truck and headed to Iowa for another adventure.

Adventure? We’re ready.

Video of the demonstration

Aerial Influence is run by David Plummer and his good friend Michael Ferguson, who’ve known each other since the age of 5. It’s a pretty interesting backstory, and worth reading on their company’s About page.

Anyway, let’s get to the video:

DJI picks up on the story

That’s actually how it first came to our attention, with this tweet:

The Agras is popular

Seeing the @DJIAgriculture Twitter account, we scrolled down a couple of recent tweets. We quickly learned that 50,000 units had been shipped worldwide in 2021 – and we’re just a little more than halfway through the year. We had no idea.

What also struck us was this tweet, which outlined just how much land Agras drones have been covering:

DroneDJ’s Take

This is a very nifty use-case scenario. And as more and more people become fully aware of the capabilities of drones (and not just the Agras), we anticipate we’ll be writing more stories in the future about new and novel uses of these amazing tools.

Oh, and if you’d like to order a Koi, you can do so here.

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