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Diageo Drones Increase Farming Efficiency, Environmental Benefits

Drones are being employed in tequila farming to accumulate data on agave plants to make better farming decisions and reduce water and fertilizer use, while cutting carbon emissions.

Diageo Drones

Diageo is using drones on its agave farms in Jalisco, Mexico, following a successful pilot conducted in 2022. The drones will help Diageo upskill its agave planters by integrating more efficient farming practices, while ensuring water resources are used only when and where needed. Agave is the key ingredient in making tequila.

The drones work in pairs, with one collecting data on the growth of the agave plants and identifying which need attention, while the other dispenses a unique water fertilizer and pesticide mix in the early hours of the morning when it's cooler, there's less wind to reduce water loss, and the agave plants are more receptive to water, resulting in an expected two-thirds water use reduction.

The drones also have decreased the number of tractors needed to be driven across the farmland, reducing carbon emissions. In addition, the drones have enabled agave planters to spend their time continuing to plant and nurture new agave.

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“We’re incredibly proud to be pioneering the use of drones across our agave farming to improve efficiency in our agriculture operations, while leading our industry innovation and technology adoption,” says Wellington Pauperio, director for supply tequila & mezcal at Diageo. “This initiative also brings additional capabilities for our team, new opportunities for personnel in the communities we operate, and contributes to a more sustainable world by reducing the use of resources, including water mix across our plantations. It has been a great cross-team collaboration for us to reach this point, and the results are speaking for themselves as we look into a better future.”

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