AGRICULTURE NEWS

VIETNAMESE RICE FARMERS ADOPT DRONES TO DECREASE INPUTS

Vietnamese rice growers are adopting drones to grow more rice using fewer resources.  According to drone manufacturer, drones are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst young farmers who are keen to earn a decent salary as a drone pilot. The recent surge in fertilizer and pesticide prices, as a result of global supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine, has urged Vietnamese farmers to use fertilizers and crop protection chemicals more efficiently. Across the rice fields of the Mekong Delta, drone manufacturer working with local service teams to help rice farmers use resources more effectively and fight the rising costs. According to local drone distributor, compared with traditional farming, agricultural drones can spray rice crops 4 times faster while improving yield by 14%. In Dong Thap province, an agricultural drone was used to spread lime on a 1.5-hectare, 40-day paddy field to treat bacterial disease and provide calcium nutrients for rice plants. During the operation, the pilot controlled the drone with a smartphone and preset parameters including flight speed, height, lime volume and spreading width. The drone carried a 25-liter container and was equipped with the spreading system RevoCast. The strong wind force of the drone helped to bring the lime in contact with the rice plant from top to bottom, saving 30% lime powder and enabling better absorption by the crops. The results of manual sowing and direct seeding by drone were compared. The agricultural drone was able to distribute rice seeds uniformly into the designated area. One hectare of rice crops was sown in two hours with 160 kilograms of seeds that had nearly 100% germination. As the winter-spring season came to an end in April, this rice paddy had reaped an actual harvest of 8 metric tons per hectare while saving seeds by 35%.