The authorities are using drones to spray pesticide on wheat fields in Xinghua, East China’s Jiangsu province, as part of this year’s diseases and pests control program. The local government is introducing high-tech tools to ensure bumper harvest in the future and to boost the development of intelligent agriculture…Full Article: ECNS.cn May 2017

Key Points

  • In January 2017, China’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture classified drones as agricultural machinery. As such, the use of agricultural drones will be subsidized in targeted pilot regions. At the time, under 2% of China’s 122 million hectares of arable land utilized agricultural drones.
  • In June 2016, approximately 4,890 Chinese farms owned agricultural drones.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In April 2017, DJI Technology announced its RTK (real-time kinematic) version of MG-1S agricultural drone (original version launched in November 2016) would be launched sometime from April to June 2017 at a cost of CNY 23,000 [~USD 3,383] per unit. The RTK version utilizes farmland positioning and pesticide spraying applications with the support of services from Qianxun.
  • In November 2016, DJI Technology launched an upgraded version of its MG-1 drone, the MG-1S. As of November 2016, DJI Technology has sold more than 2,500 Agras MG-1 agricultural drones and controls 70% of the Chinese agri-drone (farm) market. The company has more than 200 sales service offices in China. Its new MG-1S agricultural drone will be available in 2017 for CNY 42,000 (just over US$6,000) per unit.
  • In September 2016, Chinese media reported that agricultural drones were being used on 26,000 mu [~1,733 hectares] of land in Ningxia Hui Region.
  • In April 2016, the Vice President of DJI Technology stated that DJI would cooperate with various computer chip companies, but would also “keep a close eye on chip technology development.” As result, DJI was looking into using Chinese-produced computer chips.
  • In March 2016, DJI Technology announced they would train 10,000 people across China to operate agriculture-specific drones. Additionally, the Shenzhen-based company stated it would establish 100 after-sales service centers and offer subsidies (to ~10,000 people) boost the use of drones on farms.
  • As of early 2016, the market penetration of agricultural drones was 50% in the USA and Japan, but only 3% in China (~4,000 agricultural drones in use as of early 2016).
  • In November 2015, DJI launched its eight-rotor Agras MG-1, an agricultural UAV that can hold 10 liters (~2.6 gallons) of liquid (e.g. pesticides) and spray four hectares of farmland every hour.
  • In August 2015, California-based Intel (world’s largest PC chipmaker) invested US$60 million in Yuneec International, a Hong Kong-based drone manufacturer.
  • Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Shenzhen, southern China, DJI Technology is a leading Chinese manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
  • Launched in 2000, China’s Bei Dou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is a global navigation satellite system and was the third such system to be launched after the USA’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS systems.

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