Agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are helping to improve the efficiency of disease and pest control in Changsha's agricultural industry.
A skills competition for UAV and drone operation was held in Jianbei town, Changsha county, on Sept 14, aimed at popularizing state-of-the-art agricultural devices.
Various operators showed how drones can be maneuvered in the air to effectively perform pesticide spraying.
"With years of research and development, the perfect type of agricultural drone has come onto the market," said Liao Jinbo, an official at Changsha county agriculture and forestry bureau. "They are prolific in agricultural pests control and capable of doing a good job in reducing the dosage of chemicals, which has been well received by local farmers."
Yang Quan, a farmer in his early 30s, took home first place in the competition, spraying 12-mu (0.8-hectares) farmlands in less than 10 minutes.
A drone operator manipulates an agricultural UAV to spray pesticides on a field in Changsha county during a skills competition. [Photo by Zeng Shiyi/csxnews.com]
Two years ago, Yang was a technician at Changsha-based Zoomlion. He found that vast lands in his hometown were left uncultivated and decided to lease about 500 mu to be used for crops.
"I bought a 63,000-yuan ($9,557) agricultural drone in May, using a subsidy of 26,000 yuan from local and provincial governments," Yang said.
The new device can spray pesticides over 40 mu of land in just one hour, including the time for replacing battery and preparing the chemicals. It means that agricultural UAVs can spray between 200 and 400 mu of land in one day, equivalent to more than 20 times that of manual workers.
"At present, the device brings in 40,000 yuan in profit to my family, apart from spraying pesticides on my own fields this year," Yang said.
A UAV performs crop-dusting over a field in Changsha county. [Photo by Zeng Shiyi/csxnews.com]
"Changsha county features a hot and humid climate in summer, and plants and crops in the region are susceptible to diseases and pests. Spraying pesticides is an arduous and dangerous job for many farmers," Liao said.
He pointed out that statistics revealed the UAVs can also save 15 to 30 percent in pesticide usage, and thus its wide application will be conducive to save farmers both time and money.