Drones are reshaping how rice is farmed in Vietnam

agriculture drone vietnam rice farming

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest rice exporter, and XAG says its agricultural drones have become the “new favorite” of farmers that grow the crop.

The drone manufacturer, which has been actively pushing out its products in the Southeast Asian nation since the start of the monsoon, said drones have found takers even among those farmers who have been growing rice in the traditional way for over 40 years.

Lê Thành Nguyên, at 62 years old, is one of the early adopters of agricultural drones in Vietnam. This year, he used drones on his seven-hectare rice farm for crop spraying, fertilization, and direct seeding by ordering the service from a local pilot team.

Nguyên says he was driven to try out the new technology because he has been having difficulties hiring labor for manual jobs. The labor shortage has also led to an increase in costs, with the price of hiring agricultural workers reportedly jumping as much as 40% in just three years.

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“The drone eases the burden and greatly improves the efficiency,” Nguyên said. “In the past, I had to pay four workers to carry and spread one ton of fertilizers on my field from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they were exhausted. The drone has the benefits of large-volume, uniform distribution, and high spray penetration, which can help me with better pest control and nutrition management.”

The agriculturist also points out that when feeding nutrients to the rice seeds sown, 100% absorption is achieved by drone spraying, whereas only six or seven seeds out of 10 were able to take in the nutrition when sprayed manually.

Meanwhile, according to XAG’s local distributor DigiDrone, agricultural drones can spray crops four times faster than manual labor while improving yield by 14% compared to traditional farming.

XAG is confident that the number of farmers using drones for autonomous operations will only increase in the future. “Drones designed for agricultural use can reduce seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers without affecting crop yields through precise, effortless operation,” the company said.

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