“Agriculture will definitely become the leading market for the application of UAV industry, and more than 80% of precision agriculture depends on UAV.” Cao Fuliang, academician of Chinese Academy of engineering and professor of Nanjing Forestry University, pointed out at the 7th China forestry academic conference, which ended on the 10th that the application of UAV will solve the three major pain points of China’s agriculture, rural areas and farmers: precision agriculture, labor shortage and intensive operation.
The agricultural development of mankind has experienced the first revolution represented by plant breeding and the second revolution represented by animal and plant gene transfer. At present, agriculture is entering the digital era, which is the third green revolution represented by the wide application of agricultural digital technology.
The characteristic of smart agriculture is “information knowledge + intelligent equipment”, while the corresponding traditional agriculture is “land + machinery”. UAV is a typical representative of intelligent equipment rising in recent years.
Academician Cao Fuliang believes that the essence of the future UAV development is the air mobile agent driven by the network environment, which integrates intelligent perception, intelligent cognition and intelligent action, and develops in the direction of networked measurement and control, digital flight and intelligent mission, which will have an important impact on the military and economic and social development.
At present, UAV has begun to work in plant protection, sowing, pollination, yield estimation, farmland protection (soil quality), river pollution monitoring and other aspects.
Academician Cao Fuliang pointed out that the wide application of intelligent UAV can solve the three major pain points in the development of “agriculture, rural areas and farmers” in China. The first is to help agricultural production safety and solve some problems of precision agriculture. Taking precision drug use and precision fertilization as an example, in 2018, China used 1.5 million tons of pesticides, with an effective utilization rate of less than 39%, and developed countries used 50% – 60%. In 2018, the net use of chemical fertilizer in China exceeded 56.53 million tons, and the effective utilization rate was less than 38%, which was generally 50% – 65% in foreign countries. Excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers has caused a series of ecological and environmental problems. At present, in the field of precision agriculture in China, UAV has been preliminarily applied in some aspects such as information collection, spraying and sowing, but there is still a big gap from precision agriculture. Intelligent UAV will be widely used in the field of precision agriculture because of its advantages of wide area, real-time, rapid mobility and collaboration.
Secondly, the application of UAV can further alleviate the problem of rural labor shortage. At present, among the four links of agricultural production in China, the mechanization level of farming, planting and harvesting has been high, but the mechanization level of management link which accounts for the highest labor volume and cost is the lowest. UAV greatly improves the efficiency of agricultural plant protection and can deal with the problem of labor shortage. Taking rice plant protection operation as an example, the daily operation intensity of UAV is 240 mu, and the cost is 10 yuan / mu, while the daily operation intensity of manual is only 10 mu, and the cost is 600 yuan / day.
Thirdly, the application of UAV provides a means for the intensive operation of land resource debris in China. From 2002 to 2003, the proportion of idle cultivated land and idle farmers in China showed the following characteristics: first, the proportion of idle cultivated land increased from 0.32% to 5.72%, resulting in serious waste of land resources; Second, the proportion of idle farmers increased from 1.64% to 15.5%, which is related to the health status of farmers, the total area of family cultivated land and the agricultural income of farmers, especially in economically developed areas.
Editor in charge: GT