AI-driven drone revolutionizes rice farming; Bayer seeding demo shows


Artificial intelligence-driven drone has started revolutionizing Philippines’ rice farming n as Bayer Crop Science (BCS) completed a “drone seeding” demonstration in Paniqui, Tarlac that is significantly eliminating costly and time-consuming labor in rice planting.

The drone seeder is being received enthusiastically by Filipino farmers in Central Luzon as it substantially cuts labor and cost of direct seeding. The drone seed spreading service fee is being placed at only P3,000 per hectare for Bayer Arize farmer-customers. Instead of a whole day to do direct seeding in one hectare, drone seeding for the same area can be completed in only 30 minutes.

According to Aaron Cano, this is the future of farming and it’s a big opportunity for the youth to get interested in farming. New Hope Corp. (NHC) Founder/Director Anthony Tan said NHC, which distributes drones in the Philippines, has already been licensed by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) to use drones for spraying application. However, approvals for specific crop protection products that can be applied using drones have yet to be realized. This is where BCS is working to ensure regulatory compliance with FPA guidelines for priority products and crops.

Cano added that BCS is introducing a web-based app called Agrolink. Through this integrated Smart Farming program, farmers are given points from purchases that they can acculmuate to get discounts and likely include the drone services.

As a single drone would cost around P1 million which are out of reach for most farmers, NHC plans to provide the service at a reasonable fee for farmers within selected communities.

The Tarlac government is also supporting the supply of drones to its farmers. “Rep. Charlie Cojuangco wants average rice yield of Tarlac farmers to increase to more than five tons per hectare. We just finished just one techno-demo first, and maybe we will add more techno demos to introduce the technology to farmers,” said Ar-ar Molic, Carlos O. Cojuangco Foundation project manager.

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