Nation’s drones enabling UK farmers to reap rich dividends

Alex Whitebrook/ August 3, 2018/ News/ 0 comments

Farming drones from China may soon be buzzing across British fields as a result of a new partnership between Chinese agricultural technology company XAG and Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom.

XAG and Harper Adams have formed an academic and research partnership that will focus on the development of agricultural technology, including drones that spray crops and ground-based robots that will lend a hand to farmers.

Guangzhou-based XAG, which is one of the world’s largest agricultural drone manufacturers, will team up with Harper Adams at its National Center for Precision Farming, in Newport, Shropshire.

“We hope our technology can equally serve UK and European farmers, to help them improve productivity using sensors mounted on the drones to monitor the condition of the crops and subsequently apply the chemical precisely on the area requiring treatment,” said Justin Gong, co-founder of XAG.

Gong said his company will also work with Harper Adams on artificial intelligence technologies.

Debbie Heeks, project administrator at Harper Adams, said the university is working to get the necessary approval to allow British farmers to use drones for crop-spraying. UK legislation currently allows drones to perform surveys over British farms, but the robots are not yet allowed to release anything from the air.

“Harper is working closely with the relevant authorities, such as the Community Agriculture Alliance, and others to enable trials involving drones for the first time in the country,” Heeks said.

The National Center for Precision Farming has developed some of the most advanced agricultural technology solutions in the world. Last year, researchers at the university successfully completed a harvest using only robots.

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