Vietnamese rice farmers adopt drones to decrease inputs

25-05-2022 | |
XAG agricultural drone sowing rice in Vietnam. - Photo: XAG
XAG agricultural drone sowing rice in Vietnam. - Photo: XAG

Vietnamese rice growers are adopting drones to grow more rice using fewer resources. According to drone manufacturer XAG, 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, XAG has been working with local service teams to help rice farmers use resources more effectively and fight the rising costs. According to XAG’s local distributor DigiDrone, compared with traditional farming, agricultural drones can spray rice crops 4 times faster while improving yield by 14%.

Drone spreading lime

In Dong Thap province, a XAG P40 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 XAG 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, XAG said.

Direct seeding

In Dong Thap the results of manual sowing and direct seeding by drone were compared. Flying autonomously on the pre-programmed route, the XAG P40 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%, according to XAG.

The drone manufacturer plans to release a new agricultural drone that features larger payload capacity for the Vietnamese market.

Want to know more about agricultural drones that are currently commercially available? Check out his video!

Hugo Claver Web editor for Future Farming