Flying Farmers

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  • Drone-fit: Skyseed also developed special seeds.
  • Photos: Skyseed

A German start-up is revolutionizing reforestation from above.

The Berlin-based start-up Skyseed, founded by the brothers Dominik and Simon Wind, along with Ole Seidenberg, has developed an effective method for seed sowing. The company’s drones are loaded with seeds and can carry up to 15 kilograms, which corresponds to a quantity ranging from a few hundred to several million seeds, depending on the tree species. Within just 20 minutes, the drones can sow an area of up to two hectares.

The innovative sowing technology offers numerous advantages, especially in rugged terrain. It enables efficient sowing of large areas and ensures precise adaptation to climate and soil conditions. The company works not only with tree seeds but also spreads herbaceous and shrub species to help them root in the soil, provide shade, and create better growth conditions. Popular tree species include birch, pine, Douglas fir, and larch.

However, a particular challenge in drone sowing is the even distribution of seeds on the ground. Skyseed has solved this problem by developing a special coating for the seeds, which ensures that they fall almost straight to the ground. This coating also eliminates odor and taste, preventing snails and mice from decimating the seeds. The Skyseed sowing method is thus more effective and up to 50 percent more cost-effective than conventional techniques.

The company, which is only two years old, collaborates with the TU Freiberg. Skyseed’s method is currently being used in the reclamation of sections of the Lausitz open-pit mines, a project aiming to plant a total of 900,000 new trees. In addition to Skyseed, there are only a few providers in Europe that employ similar drone technology. The most well-known among them is the English company Dendra Systems, but it is currently only active in the United States and Canada.