SUWON, Mar. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — Drones are expected to soon become the new ‘right hand’ of farming in South Korea.
The Gyeonggi-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services invited 100 agricultural experts and farmers on Wednesday to conduct a demonstration of rice cropping using drones.
The institution is also responsible for studying and educating farmers on using drones to conduct direct sowing methods to grow rice, which involves drones spreading rice seeds in paddies filled with water.
This will allow rice seeds to submerge well, preventing ducks and other birds from eating them. The seeds will be coated with silicic acid to encourage germination.
The institution argued that this method, compared to the traditional ones, offers manpower savings of as much as 90.6 percent while reducing personnel expenses by half.
What would take at least 798 hours to grow rice in a 10 acre field using traditional methods can be handled by drones within 75 hours by skipping unnecessary procedures.
The new method will only require 11 workers instead of the 22 normally needed for carrying out traditional methods.
Agricultural drones cost around 20 million won (US$17,600) each, which is far cheaper than rice-planting machines that normally cost as much as 40 million won.
“The drones are capable of spreading rice seeds over 3,300m2 in less than 10 minutes,” said the institution. “Sowing rice seeds directly using drones will speed up the entire rice growing process by 30 to 35 days.”
The institution plans to focus on educating farmers about the new method as part of its initiative to resolve increasing labor shortages in the agricultural industry.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)