Gov?t to use drone technology for rice research

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The national government is considering the use drones as potential monitoring instrument that will help researchers gather accurate data and conduct studies efficiently.

A remote-controlled drone being used by the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. Photo credit: http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/
A remote-controlled drone being used by the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. Photo credit: http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/

Roger Barroga, lead of Future Rice Program in the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said a training program on drone technology will be conducted following its recent introduction by experts early this month.

To be implemented with the University of Southern Mindanao next year, the training program will highlight flight tutorials and application of the drone?s features.

The drone features a high definition camera, flight stabilizer, and GPS (global positioning system) that allows users to program its flight path. It can fly for 8-10 minutes and can travel up to a maximum distance of 2 kilometers.

Barroga said that the technology can be maximized for research activities such as data collection, tracking growth patterns, and pests and nutrient management.

Dr. Dindo Tabanao, head of PhilRice Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division, said the drone can also be used to inspect damages during calamities, monitor rice fields during crop establishment, and assess real time conditions in areas to be possibly hit by El Ni?o.

Researchers also said that the device can help reduce cost in multi-location monitoring and trials.

?We will further explore the technology`s features so researchers could spend their time efficiently,? Tabanao added.

The drone is available in the country and is sold for at least P25,000. — PIA

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