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Australia Uses AG Drones to Precisely Weed

The shortage of labor force and the "weed crisis" have brought about food production reduction and ecological damage, which have plagued Australian farmers for many years. According to statistics, the annual loss of grain production caused by weeds to Australia is as high as 745 million US dollars.


1. AG drones promote weeding in Australia


Under the traditional agricultural production mode, these challenges make Australian farmers have to take measures such as reducing crop planting scale and increasing weeding cost, which leads to a sharp rise in agricultural production costs. The introduction of Chinese AG drones in Australia not only alleviates the labor shortage in the post-pandemic era, but also helps to promote the restoration of the ecological environment. Therefore, it is favored by Australian farmers.


For a long time, Australian farmland has been infested by various harmful weeds. Among them, Eragrostis curvula is one of the most "notorious" malignant weeds in the local area. This weed native to Africa has strong drought and barren resistance. They have strong adaptability to the environment and soil. They can quickly occupy large tracts of pastures, squeeze the living space of native plants and animals, lead to a decline in forage production and degrade the natural ecosystem. Therefore, controlling or eradicating these stubborn weeds has become the primary challenge for Australian farmers.


Herbicide spraying is the most commonly used and effective way to control weeds. In the past, whether manual or large-scale agricultural equipment was used, the risk of liquid medicine drift often occurred in the spraying process, causing the surrounding crops to suffer drug damage and polluting soil and water sources. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce accurate and efficient spraying equipment into weed control.


In March 2021, Australia's Upper Snowy Landcare launched the project of "Fighting against Eragrostis curvula" in New South Wales. This project aims to use AG drones to accurately spray and clean the severely affected areas invaded by thrush grass, so as to reduce the use of herbicides and help healthy vegetation recover and grow.


For pastures severely invaded by Eragrostis, the project established three test sites in Monaro, New South Wales, Australia.


Firstly, the operator uses remote ESC UAV to conduct high-definition mapping on the target field to determine the accurate position of each weed.


In the first test site, AG drones loaded with herbicides selectively sprayed grass planting areas invaded by Eragrostis. For shrub areas, the UAV chooses to spray accurately above the rows of trees where weeds breed so as to prevent weeds and trees from competing for water, sunlight and nutrients.


In the third test site where weed cleaning has been completed, AG drones are loaded with grass seeds and shrub seeds to evenly drop them on the bare ground. This helps to further inhibit the regrowth of stubborn weeds and maintain the ecological balance of pasture.


2. AG drones have been recognized by people


Margaret McKinnon, chairman of shangxue land management agency, said: "this pilot project shows the feasibility and accuracy of UAV in stubborn weed control. Compared with large helicopters and tractors, long range commercial UAV, as a lighter and more flexible equipment, can enter areas inaccessible to large helicopters and tractors to protect crops from damage." Before that, farmers relied heavily on traditional sprayers for spraying extensively, and the abuse of herbicides also led to the occurrence of weeds resistance.


In recent years, Australia has attached great importance to the development of precision agriculture, and the application of drones in farmland remote sensing and crop management has been widely recognized. As more and more Australian farmers actively embrace Chinese digital technology, UAV and robots will become a key force in reshaping the future of Australian agriculture.

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