How much do Aerial Ag Services Cost?

Like all business we need to make a profit in order to be around for years to come.

Agricultural aircraft these days are high tech pieces of equipment with expensive GPS systems in place for accuracy and proof of placement The turbine powered aircraft of today are productive and efficient. They cost a lot of money to operate but can cover large areas in short periods that would unable to be achieve by ground base operations.

To get the best out of the aircraft and to keep the price of application reasonable we need to manage the jobs efficiently and to do this we need to co-operation of all involved.

Our aircraft operating cost start at $25.00 per minute for the smallest of our aircraft so cost can escalate very quickly if jobs are not planned or we arrive and water, chemical, fertiliser and maps are not organised or correct. These cost occur at all times the aircraft is running whether we are on a ferry to position on a job or on productive work.

We have two types of cost associated with our operation. Fixed cost This is the cost of the operation regardless or not weather we do any work. These cost includes, staff, aircraft and other insurances that is currently about $3000.00 per week.

Variable costs Some of these cost include pilots, ground crew, Jet Fuel , maintenance ,vehicle running cost and due to most aircraft parts being sourced from overseas and based on $US ,exchange rate. Fuel burn is in the order from 120 litres per hour up to 180 litres per hour depending on aircraft type.

To help keep the application cost to a minimum organise with neighbours to combine jobs. Planning of your paddocks helps as long runs make a big difference to the number of hectares we can cover per hour. Driving around in a ground rig patching out the dry areas will not save money as we still have to over fly these areas to efficiently spray the remainder of the paddock. Having a lot of different mixes also slows down production, so by getting us to apply a extra 100 ml of MPCA in one paddock in the middle of all the others will make quite a difference to time so the cost will rise and will that 100 ml really make that much of a difference. Where we go to one farm and there are 5 or 6 mixes compared to another farm where there is 1 mix there is obviously going to be a price variance. We try to accurately price jobs on the information provided on our aerial application request form but when we arrive and get landed with non standard spray orders, changes to the original order, inaccurate information or a large number of mixes these prices are subject to change.