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Applications of Drone Technology in Modern Agriculture

As a new type of information acquisition carrier, drones have been widely concerned by society. With the gradual maturity of technology, drones have been applied in more and more fields due to their advantages of good adaptability and flexible operation. They have gradually become a new type of equipment in agricultural activities. This article summarizes the current status of agricultural purpose drone applications.

Current status of applications of agricultural drones

The drone is an unscrewed aircraft that operate by radio remote control equipment and self-contained program control devices. It has nearly 100 years of history in research, but a large amount of literature on drones has just emerged in recent years. As a new type of convenient and comprehensive information acquisition instrument, drones have been widely promoted in the field of agriculture. In 1912, Canada began to use aircraft as an auxiliary tool for spraying pesticides on field crops and orchards. In 1918, the United States used airplanes to spray pesticides to prevent and control locust disasters for the first time in history. After more than 30 years of development in Japan, the development of its agricultural drones for sale and supporting pesticide application technology has gradually matured.

Although the development of drones in China started late, its application in agricultural production has become increasingly widespread in recent years. Shanxi Agricultural Machinery Extension Station used drones in a pesticide spraying experiment on late field corn. The results have proven that the drone has higher operating efficiency, reaching 4hm2h, and its atomization and penetration effects are also relatively better. Inner Mongolia Hetao Irrigation District Management Bureau and Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University used the fixed wing drone for sale and the multi-rotor drone to take dual-aircraft aerial photographs of soil moisture and crop water in the two experimental areas respectively and obtain photos. The results showed that the coverage area of a single flight for a drone has reached 666.7hm2 (ten thousand mu), it has broadened the field and direction in automatic monitoring in irrigation areas, and it has achieved expected monitoring results as well. In 2011, the Liaoning Environmental and Aviation Application Engineering Center conducted aerial photography and remote sensing monitoring for the current status of the Liaohe River Basin through using the drone remote sensing system and found that its image resolution was 0.1m and the monitoring data was accurate. Professional and technical personnel have also claimed a new method of soil and water conservation monitoring using remote drone sensing combined with existing monitoring technologies to solve soil erosion in production and construction projects. Studies have shown that drones combined with remote sensing systems are not only capable of obtaining monitoring target information efficiently, but they can also perform fast-tracking and monitoring tasks to achieve a comprehensive evaluation of farmland conditions.

Operating with drones could save water and pesticides, as well as lower the cost

Affected by the topography and the types of crops, the difficulty of agricultural operations varies, which will directly affect the cost of agricultural production. When using the fertilizer spraying drone to spray pesticides, the flying altitude can be remotely changed to adapt to the changes in different crop heights and topography. Under the premise of sufficient spraying, the spraying cost can be controlled below 300 yuan/hm2, which significantly reduced the cost of crop irrigation. In addition, drones have low depreciation rates, low fuel consumption, simple maintenance, and low labor costs, which have a significant effect on bringing down the overall agricultural production costs.

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