Drones used in seeding, fertilization and plant protection
Bayer, XAG to help farmers use AI
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — German pharmaceutical and agricultural firm Bayer is pushing for artificial intelligence to help more Filipino farmers generate more bountiful yields, monitor soil and control pests.

Bayer recently partnered with Chinese agricultural drone maker XAG to help map farms and collect crop growth information via remote sensing.

XAG’s drones, specifically the granule spreading system, is used in seeding, fertilization and plant protection in an aerial way through AI techniques.  

Fast and efficient application of fertilizers and pesticides on crops can save resources and time as well as improve yields for farmers.

XAG has a 20 million-hectare crop protection service record and its product portfolio includes survey and spray drones, agricultural utility vehicles, and IoT (Internet of Things) equipment such as weather stations and farm cameras.

The technology will enable farmers to overcome farming challenges including labor shortage, water availability, product stewardship and safe use.

Bayer CropScience division head Andre Kraide said around 500 million smallholder farmers produce 80 percent of the food consumed in the developing world.

“We know that we need to double food production to feed 10 billion people by 2050. But we also know that we will not get more land or resources to do so. This is where digital farming comes into the picture,” he said.

   “As the leader in agriculture, Bayer is committed to enabling smallholder farmers access to digital technology and solutions. We look forward to working closely with XAG, our channel and value chain partners, as well as the governments and other key stakeholders in the countries to leapfrog the smart agricultural movement in Southeast Asia and Pakistan from farm to table,” Kraide added.

The partnership involves distribution of XAG products through Bayer’s channels. It will jointly promote and develop markets through partnerships with local distributors.

   “XAG has grown from a drone manufacturer based in Guangzhou, China, to the world’s leading agriculture technology company with a 20 million-hectare crop protection service record. Our product portfolio includes survey and spray drones, agricultural utility vehicles, and IoT equipment such as weather stations and farm cameras,” said Justin Gong, co-founder of XAG.

The Philippines has been striving toward self-sufficiency in rice and corn through the Department of Agriculture and part of the government’s focus has been on agriculture modernization and mechanization.

“At a glance, we are seeing scarcity of labor and improper application of crop protection products as concerns that can be solved right away by using drones,” Bayer Philippines country commercial lead Ivan Lao said.

“Farmers would be able to optimize their usage of farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers since this technology promotes precision agriculture, hence would lead to reduced production costs while improving yield output and income,” Lao said.  

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