XAG has deployed fully autonomous crop spraying drones as part of its fight against ‘crop-devouring armyworms.’
It has been deployed in some of the most affected countries, such as Zambia, South Africa, Vietnam and China, to improve the control efficacy that had been limited due to manual spraying.
XAG had discovered that in the worst hit Africa and Asia, the absence of smart devices, the unique natural habits of fall armyworm and farmers’ lack of professional expertise have resulted in a rapid large-scale infestations.
Fall armyworms are a highly destructive pest species native to tropics and sub-tropics of the Americas, and have aggressively invaded more than 100 countries and devastated millions of hectares of crops since 2016.
At the end of its lifespan, as a moth, it can fly up to 100km in one night and lay as many as 1,000 eggs during its lifetime.
With strong migration and reproductive abilities, fall armyworms crossed the Atlantic for the first time and landed in Africa in early 2016, then quickly spread to most Asian countries in July 2018.
As for Africa alone, the annual yield loss of the 12 maize-producing countries is estimated at $4.6bn in 2018.
Given the situation, drone technology has given XAG the ability to suppress the encroachment of fall armyworm in time, through effective large-scale emergency action involving minimal physical labour.