Drones in farms get wings

Life science firm demonstrates use of drones in agriculture operations

Published - November 23, 2021 09:46 pm IST - HYDERABAD

A drone in action at the multi-crop breeding centre of Bayer near Hyderabad on Tuesday.

A drone in action at the multi-crop breeding centre of Bayer near Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Life science firm Bayer on Tuesday conducted a field demonstration on use of drones in agricultural operations at its multi-crop breeding centre in Chandipa, near Hyderabad.

First such by the firm, it came on the back of Bayer securing approvals to conduct research and development and agriculture spraying operations to make the drone technology available for smallholders.

Stating this the firm, in a release, said, drones can help support more targeted applications of insect, weed and disease-control products. The move will ensure correct dosage and also limit the risk of accidental exposure to chemicals. Besides, drones also offer real-time agronomic advisory to farmers, enhancing farm productivity and fostering sustainability, it said.

CEO and managing director of Bayer CropScience D. Narain said, “We are proud of the results of our drone trial in Hyderabad. It showcases the potential of the future of farming. Drone applications are operating in other small farmer countries in Asia and have the potential to deliver significant value to smallholders in India.”

Bayer said it has partnered with drone start-up General Aeronautics and conducted several in-house and external R&D trials with universities and central research institutions to generate data to make drone-based services available to farmers. Growers may be able to explore the technology’s capabilities in aiding paddy, corn, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables, fruits and plantation crops and harvests in the future, the company said.

Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, in a message on the occasion, said Bayer’s pilot project, on use of drones in agriculture, comes amid India’s giant strides in technology and digitalisation. “Use of drones in agriculture will revolutionise farm operations and empower our farmers especially the smallholders with information and applications that will help them enhance their yields and income in the in the long run. I appreciate Bayer’s efforts in early adoption of this technology,” he said.

Seeking to highlight the government’s effort to create a liberalised policy framework that facilitates more participation by industry, academia and startups, Joint Secretary to Ministry of Civil Aviation Amber Dubey said, “We look forward to seeing the commercial application of agri-drones for the betterment of our farmers.”

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