ALTA is the biggest company in Israel in the field of pesticides application in agriculture by UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles), and it was the first company to receive license from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Civil Aviation of Israel. In recent years, the Company gained unprecedented commercial experience in pesticides application over tens of thousands of dunams, applying a variety of pesticides.
Ido Kogel and Tomer Regev, born and raised in Jezreel Valley are inseparable since there were in school. Later, they also served in the Navy together and embarked on operational activities side by side. Ido is a veteran of Shayetet 13 unit, and Tomer is a veteran of the Israeli Naval Academy. Following their army service, each of the founders utilised the vast experience they have gained in operating aerial vehicles, the agricultural background from the Valley, the determination and the values they have maintained from their army service – and together they went out to fulfil their dream- establishing ALTA.
Over the past few years, Tomer and Ido have taken the concept of “Where there’s a will- there’s a way” a few steps ahead. “About 3 years ago, Mayaan Golani and Dr. Yuval Binyamini of “Luxembourg Industries Ltd.” and Dr. Shaul Ben Yehuda, a senior instructor from the Agricultural Extension Service of Israel (Shaham) in the Ministry of Agriculture, have met with us a and took up the gauntlet” tells Ido, “we were asked if we could spread the Splat pheromone substance against False Coling Moth (FCM) by drones instead of workers”.
A month later, ALTA launched an innovative system in a citrus orchard for a short pilot, and the rest was history.
“After a successful purpose display, we were given a mission to implement Splat in a 30 dunam orchard in Jezreel Valley”. As an exciting closure, the first mission the valley natives were given was in the area where they grew up.
“We were given a three-day window to complete the task. During the first day ‘We were given a three-day window to complete the task. During the first day of application in the first row in the orchard, an accident occurred and the drone crashed. We quickly withdrew from the field with the equipment back to our lab with the aim of doing everything we could to meet the deadline and succeed in the task”.
After 24 hours, the ALTA team returned to the orchard with a new platform, and an upgraded system and completed the implementation. “30 dunams a day. That was our pace back then.”
The system, called “Venus”, is carried on a drone to which splatters are attached. The system is able to automatically disperse a precise amount of splat substance on each tree. The rate of dispersion and velocity is fully controlled by the drone’s controller.
After two years of observation (examining aerial application by senior professionals) and carrying out a long regulatory process with the Ministry of Agriculture, the aerial application method received official approval. Today, on the label of the splat tube marketed by “Luxemburg Ltd.” Appears the permit and a recommendation for dispersing the substance by a drone. The achievement is unprecedented and innovative in Israeli agriculture.
“After the successful observations,” Tomer says, “we were preparing for a wide-scale implementation for the time of “confusion” in the orchards and avocado plantation. We trained teams, upgraded and doubled the systems, purchased equipment and waited for the kick-off.”
After the first season, the orders that went in exceeded all expectations.
“We received work orders to implement thousands of dunams, the farmers were immediately excited about our service, which saves them precious and inaccurate handwork. We had to work from first to last light to reach the required suppliers. We were at a rate of 300 dunams a day.” Tomer continues, “It was amazing to see the farmers’ shift from the old system to the new one. All the farmer had to do was to mark his plot of land which was intended for “confusion” and to get an approval from us at the end of the day.
The citrus season ended perfectly well. The application was successful, and this year we have already expanded our activities to apply additional splat products to “muddle” the carob moth in the almond orchards, and in the future we will implement more products in the apple orchards, vineyards and cotton fields.
“About two months ago our development department launched the ״Venus Trio״ system.” Tomer says, “If up till now we could carry half a kg of material at a time, the new system could carry a 2.25 kg splat, an amazing statistic that allows us to work much faster and more efficiently. The system has been upgraded and adjusted to the operating layout and maximizes implementation.”
During the Citrus season which began about a month ago, the ALTA field teams are implementing with the new “Venus Trio” system at a rate of 600 dunams a day.
ALTA’s expertise and uniqueness is to develop dedicated spray systems for various types of pesticides (ointment, granules and liquid). These systems produce innovative solutions in the field of agriculture and achieve improved spraying accuracy, manpower savings, and maximum efficiencyְ. The company participates in other pesticide spraying projects against other pests, including the Mediterranean fly, the carob moth and the pink caterpillar, as well as participating in the detection and eradication of voles in agricultural fields in collaboration with “Netafim” company.
When asked what their secret is, the answer is “the people.” These are a handful of people, from aerial, naval and land combat units, who have assembled into an unstoppable winning group. The group has been “plowing” the orchards and fields from north to south over the last few years, in the cold and especially in the heat, to provide the best service to the farmers, with innovative technology that until recently seemed as a dream.