drones dramatically changing farming practices
agricultural drones operate in farmland. (photo: vcg)
by lin yuchen
agricultural drones today are no longer a luxury for farmers. the buzzing of small propellers can now be heard more widely across china as they assist in driving the country’s agricultural efforts forward with more intelligent options.
one such instance are the villagers in yajiang county, sichuan province, who are now using drones to transport delicate wild mushrooms collected from nearby hills. previously when transporting 10 mushrooms manually down to the valley, for example, only two or three would remain undamaged. now with the drones, almost all mushrooms collected arrive at the collection point in good condition.
in 2016, china had a stock of only about 4,000 agricultural drones. in 2021, however, the agricultural drone's industry witnessed the largest quantitative leap, with this figure rising to over 100,000. the drones operated across more than 93 million hectares of farmland with up to 200,000 technicians surveying data from their remote missions.
relevant drones were also exported to facilitate agricultural work in southeast asia and switzerland including crop protection, spreading fertilizer, and livestock feed.
leading manufactures of agricultural drones like da-jiang agriculture and xag are also accelerating their innovations. xag’s upgraded products, for example, can operate steadily and efficiently even in areas without strong internet connection.
"china has become a leader in the drone industry worldwide," said wang zhiguo, chairman of national aviation plant protection science technology innovation alliance, adding that the country leads the world in flight control and ultra-low altitude spraying technologies of drones.
many new models of agricultural drones are being developed to suit extreme geographical scenarios. according to da-jiang agriculture, "drones are particularly suitable for scenarios where it is difficult to get down on the ground with manual and ground machinery, such as paddy fields, tall straw crops, and mountainous terrain."