Smart Agriculture Solutions
2022-07-13 07:50XAG Drone Supports Cacao Farm to Fight Diseases during Rainy Spells2022-07-13 07:50More >13 July 2022, Guayaquil, Ecuador - To facilitate sustainable, local cacao production for the finest chocolate, XAG agricultural drone is adopted by cacao growers in Ecuador and provides relief to labour shortage during the busy season.As more plantations struggle to improve efficiency and remain profitable, farmers are now seeking better solutions to combat plant diseases that can flourish with rainy spells. XAG's drone technology steps into Ecuador's cacao gardens to spray timely after rains, protecting cacao fruit from yield loss with trustworthy effect. XAG agricultural drone conducted pest control in an Ecuadorian cacao farm More Efficient Spraying Solution in Sloped Farm As the world's leading export of cacao, Ecuador is the top spot of high-quality cacao beans, the major ingredient of single-origin chocolates. Small farm owners account for over 90% of the cacao producers. However, the downward trend in cacao prices and the capricious weather have pushed more pressure on preserving yields. This season, Ecuadorian farmers are opening their arms to embrace drone technology for fruit tree spraying. XAG's local partner, Megadrone, dispatched an agricultural service team to manage a 180-hectare cacao farm in Guayaquil, the second largest city of Ecuador. Drone was used as an alternative spraying tool to cope with the increasing labour costs. Before working, XAG agricultural drone sits on the slope of cacao plantations The cacao farm is located on mountains and the sloped, undulating terrain makes it hard to reach by large ground machinery. Over the previous years, spraying crops and spreading fertilizers were mostly conducted by hired workers manually. It took at least a month to cover the whole fields even with sufficient labour. Since the drones arrived this April, cacaos can be farmed in a more sustainable practice and become more resilient to climate change. During the operation, the XAG P Series Agricultural Drone was equipped with a full tank of foliar fertilizers and fungicides. It took off from the slope and flew over clusters of bushes to precisely spray on the cacao trees. Due to the powerful downdraft under propellers, chemical droplets could be easily carried to the whole plant and attach to the leaves uniformly. Two sets of XAG agricultural drones were able to serve the entire 180-hectare cacao fruits in 3 to 4 days. The XAG drone service team was introduced to the cacao farm Keep Cacao Distant from Rain Season Diseases When the rainy season comes, manual operation is susceptible to the changing climate, and farmers often miss the best time to spray for pest control or disease prevention. In this cacao farm of Guayaquil, the hot, humid weather has lasted for at least two months, which would accelerate the nutrition loss in plants and increase the risk of infesting diseases. With the help of drones, now cacao farmers can apply timely fungicide sprays and supply fertilizers to boost growth right after the heavy rains. In addition to aerial spraying, the drone can be fully automated to deal with the complicated landform of cacao trees. Drone pilots and technicians discussed the spraying plan of XAG drone "What's more, XAG's agricultural drone can be easily operated by most people. Before launching the drone, the pilot just plans the flight path and sets up parameters on mobile app. This is convenient to learn even for our elderly workers," said by the farm owner. In the coming three months, the cocoa plantations in Ecuador will enter a vital stage where foliar feeding and insecticide spraying are required for a bumper harvest of cacao pods. With their high agility and efficiency, drones can strongly support cacao farmers to produce fine aromatic cacao beans that the global market adores.(Photo credit: Megadrone Ecuador)
2022-06-08 19:49XAG Brings Drone Innovation to Cambodian Farmers for Sustainable Cassava Production2022-06-08 19:49More >7 June 2022, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Drone technology has been recently introduced in Cambodia's cassava cultivations to help small-scale farmers earn better yield while bringing down the costs of farm input. Cassava is the most important agro-industrial crop in Cambodia that provides employment and livelihood to thousands of rural workers. Supporting the national cassava policy, XAG delivers new energy to this sector with its agricultural drones that can use less water and chemical and ease the workload on farm. XAG Agricultural Drone can conduct aerial spraying to boost cassava productivity A big leap forward in productivity Broadly grown on over 600 thousand hectares of farmland in Cambodia, Cassava covers the second largest planting area after the rice paddy and contributes to 4% of GDP growth. However, the tradition of cassava farming involves intensive labour and time-consuming process. To meet the growing demand of cassava-based products including food, flour, paper and alcohol, Cambodian farmers have rapidly expanded their planting areas and started applying XAG's agricultural drones for productivity boom. Chhay Thi is an early adopter of spray drone who owns 20 hectares of land in Varin District, Siem Reap Province of Cambodia. This May, he ordered services from XAG local partner Red Sparrow Cambodia and had the XAG Agricultural Drone to demonstrate autonomous weeding on his 10-hectare cassava field. An XAG P Series Agricultural Drone is deployed to the field and ready for take-off mission Unlike the large agricultural machinery, drones can be transported conveniently and deployed to the field much easier. After the liquid tank was filled with herbicide, the XAG agricultural drone automatically took off as the drone operator played simple clicks on mobile app. The drone flew over ridges of cassava plants, sprayed precisely along the pre-set route, and finished 8 hectares of herbicide spraying via unmanned control. In the past, the same amount of work usually takes farm workers more than a week to complete manually, but now, it can be done within one hour by only one agricultural drone. Despite the agriculture sector maintains an adequate workforce, farm owners are also faced with a rising cost up to $18-25 per hectare when they hire workers for pesticide spraying. A group of farm workers can only spray 1 hectare per day, which would struggle to catch up with the busy season of cassava growth. A safer option to battle rising costs Besides the increased efficiency, drones are helping farmers like Chhay Thi to reduce overall planting costs. "If I have an XAG drone in busy seasons to help me with crop protection, I can save $8-10 per hectare that is formerly spent on manual spraying. Drone operation also reduces the use of chemical by 10-30%, so the resources and money saved can be reallocated to the other crop cultivation," said Chhay Thi who witnessed the whole process of drone spraying demonstration. Cambodian farmers installed smart liquid tank to the XAG agricultural drone The agricultural drone has other benefits of closing the yield gap and protecting farmers from chemical exposure. The way drone sprays top down from the air successfully prevents direct contact of large ground machinery on cassava crops, ensuring that pesticides or fertilisers can penetrate the plants with precision and avoid crop damage. Cassava crop can grow higher than one meter and sometimes even over the height of human, but traditional spraying requires farmers to either carry backpack sprayers or drive tractors to enter the field. Instead of putting farmers into ground operation, drones can eliminate the health risks of inhaling chemicals and getting poisoned. An XAG drone demonstrated its capacity of spraying autonomously In Chhay Thi's hometown, many villagers cultivate cassava as their main source of income. "I believe the high efficiency and affordable price will accelerate the scaleup of drone operation among more farmers. XAG's agricultural drone can not only help me reap more harvest, but also serve other farmers with the same demand for cassava boom," Chhay Thi said. The production, processing and export of cassava has been the key driver of Cambodia’s agricultural economy. According to the "National Cassava Policy 2020-2025" issued by Royal Government of Cambodia, the country is positioned to be a home of cassava production and processing industries and becomes a reliable supplier of cassava products for regional and global market. Drone technology has showed its various advantages on farm management, from improving crop yield, using less pesticides to safeguarding the well-being of rural workers. As Cambodia is the world's tenth largest producer of cassava with plans for steps forward, XAG anticipates having more cassava farmers to adopt agricultural drone and get better profit in a sustainable way.
2022-05-06 18:20XAG promotes drones in Vietnam to boost rice farming while cutting fertilizer use2022-05-06 18:20More >6 May 2022, Dong Thap, Vietnam - As the monsoon season starts with ample rainfalls, XAG is actively scaling up the use of its agricultural drones in Vietnam to make rice production more sustainable. Faced with the soaring prices of agricultural inputs, Vietnamese farmers can now employ drones from XAG to grow more rice using fewer resources. From direct seeding, pesticide spraying to fertilizer application, XAG's agricultural drones have seen its increasing popularity among rural youth who are keen to earn a decent salary as drone pilot.Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter of rice, which is also the staple food consumed by 90% of the total population and the main source of income for millions of small-scale farmers. More than 50% of the country's rice is cultivated in the Mekong Delta region, known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam that produces three crops per year. However, the surge in fertilizer and pesticide prices, as a result of global supply chain disruption, has urged Vietnamese farmers to cut back crop nutrients and chemical essential to boosting rice yields.Agricultural drone has become a reliable tool for Vietnamese farmers to boost rice yieldsEase the rising cost strain on farmersAcross the rice fields of Mekong Delta, XAG has been working with local service teams to help rice farmers use resources more effectively and fight the rising costs. Drones designed for agricultural use can reduce seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers without affecting crop yields through precise, effortless operation. According to XAG's local distributor DigiDrone, compared with traditional farming, agricultural drone can spray crops 4 times faster than manual labor while improving yield by 14%.The Mekong Delta becomes the major battlefield to adopt new technology and shift away from intensive rice farming. In Dong Thap province, XAG P40 agricultural drone was used to spread lime on a 40-day paddy field to treat bacterial disease and provide calcium nutrients for rice plants. In addition to pesticide application, broadcasting of granule fertilizer and crop nutrient is another primary scenario of drones. XAG P40 is spraying lime powder to the rice paddy to treat diseaseDuring the operation, the young pilot controlled the drone with a smartphone and preset parameters including flight speed, height, lime volume and spreading width to fulfill automation. As the XAG drone carried a 25-liter container and the spreading system RevoCast, the lime powder was spread evenly and accurately on the 1.5-hectare rice paddy. The strong wind force of the drone helped lime in contact with the rice plant from top to bottom, saving 30% lime powder and enabling better absorption by the crops.Maintain good yield with less effort An agricultural demonstration was also held in Dong Thap to compare the results of manual sowing and direct seeding by drone. Farmers used to work all day bending over, ankle deep in the mud to transplant seedlings, but now rice seeds can be sown directly into the flooded fields, which requires less labor and saves time. Flying autonomously on the pre-programmed route, the XAG P40 agricultural drone could distribute rice seeds uniformly into the designated area. The performance of drone seeding was as smooth as manual operation to help farmers achieve optimal plant density. It is reported that 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%. Nguyen is a rice farmer in his 40s who lives in the Mekong Delta region and grows a rice field of 4 hectares. He uses XAG's agricultural drone for the first time this year to sow seeds, spray pesticides and spread fertilizer, becoming an early adopter of drone technology in Vietnam's farming industry. Over the past years, Nguyen had to carry a heavy backpack spreader or an old-fashioned hand sprayer, which was not only inefficient but also increased the risk of exposure to chemical.Nguyen, a farmer, is quite satisfied with the drone for seeding because of its efficiency"Traditionally I could only spray an area of 5 hectares in a day, but now with the help of XAG's farming drone, 30 hectares of rice fields can be precisely treated without lots of effort," said by Nguyen. When applying fertilizer to boost rice growth, the drone can also help Nguyen halve the amount of fertilizer and spread at an efficiency of 10 hectares in a single day. The same area of fertilizing operation would take farm workers several days to complete manually. As an increasing number of farmers realize the benefits of drone, this new technology will soon scale up in Vietnam to boost the resilience of smallholders against climate change and market fluctuation. To serve the growing crop protection demand on a larger scale, XAG will be ready to release a new model of agricultural drone for the Vietnamese market that features larger payload capacity.