Drone use termed handy for precision agri practices

SARGODHA-A two-day international seminar on 'Use of Precision Agricultural unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for Pesticide Spraying and Field Demonstration' concluded at Agriculture College of the Sargodha University here on Friday.

Precision agriculture practices using high-tech equipment like unmanned aerial vehicle can have positive impact on farm productivity and economics as it provides higher or equal yields with lower production cost than conventional practices.

Farming sensors and digital imaging capabilities of agricultural UAVs can give farmers a richer picture of their fields and it can also be used in improving crop yields and farm efficiency.

The consensus was developed among the international delegates and agricultural engineers including Dr Yubin Lan, Director National Centre for International Collaboration Research on Precision Agricultural Aviation Pesticide Spraying Technology (NPAAC) and six other leading scientists of NPAAC and the agricultural experts of the College of Agriculture, Sargodha University.

The seminar was organised by the Department of Entomology in collaboration with NPAAC of South China Agricultural University Guangzhou, China.

The event aimed at creating awareness among agriculture students and local farmers of Sargodha about the usage of drone technology in order to help increase crop production and monitor crop growth.

Foreign delegates visited the various ongoing and functioning agricultural projects of the Agriculture College including Citrus Farm.

They also visited Chak 10/SB to meet local farmers in order to provide them assistance regarding farming problems and to impart knowledge about precision agriculture along with the use of drone in agricultural sector.

They told the farmers that use of drones in agriculture is extending at a brisk pace in crop production, early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, forestry and fisheries as well. They briefed the farmers about use of drone technology in pesticide application as a step towards safe agriculture.

They also demonstrated the test-drive of drone technology to monitor crop progress and spray pesticides on different part of agricultural land. They informed the farmers that with the help of drone technology, they can spray 50 to 100 acre land in a day.

Addressing the concluding ceremony, UoS VC Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad said that almost 50-year old Pak-China relations are coming down to people-to-people level and transforming into close collaboration in agriculture and other economic endeavours.

He informed the seminar that Sargodha University is determined to bridge the scholarly and academic gap between China and Pakistan and in this respect, has extended cooperation with various Chinese institutions.

"Sargodha University has lot of scope especially in Agriculture and it strives to collaborate with Chinese counterparts in other academic domains to let Pak-China relations smoothly grow further," he added.

Dr Yubin Lan delivered a detailed keynote address on UAV Precision Agricultural Spraying Technology and apprised the participants with the cost-effective use of latest unmanned aerial vehicle to spray the pesticides for avoiding the health problems of humans when they spray manually.

He urged to adopt and implement UAVs for crop monitoring and pesticides spraying.

Dr Zhang Yali, while introducing the NPAAC, said that NPAAC focused on aerial plant protection for typical food crops and economic crops, and jointly carried out innovation research on key technology and common issues for agricultural aviation remote sensing, precision aerial variable spraying and other related technologies and equipment.

The NPAAC delegates announced to give an agricultural drone as token of love for the College of Agriculture and vowed to strengthen research and exchange collaborations with the University of Sargodha.