PANAMA CITY, Fla.—XAG has introduced its P100 Agricultural Drone to farmers in the country of Panama, providing an accessible approach to more profitable and sustainable farming practices.
Drone demonstrations and training are being conducted on farms nationwide, while trials on seeding and fertilization have been carried out, initially for rice cultivation. As XAG gears up for its global expansion, its Latin American business on agricultural unmanned devices grew 380% in the first half of 2022, the company reported.
Rice is the staple food as well as one of the main crops of Panama. 84,459 hectares of rice were planted in 2022, with an increase of 11,160 hectares on a yearly basis. In face of rising production costs, the government has enacted incentives that encourage farmers to expand rice cultivation and ease the burden on consumers. According to Panama’s Ministry of Agricultural Development, local producers can get a generous subsidy for every kilogram of rice produced.
The government also supports the application of smart farming equipment to boost yields and improve farmers’ income. As a 40-kilogram large payload UAV, the XAG P100 Agricultural Drone addresses the demand to apply precision for rice seeding, fertilizer spreading and pest control. So far, interest in XAG P100 has been shown by medium-to-large farms wishing to purchase drones, as well as the smallholder farmers who are interested in drone services.
Large farms used to spray with helicopters, which are expensive and require a pilot onboard. The XAG P100 Agricultural Drone is more affordable, with an RTK centimeter-level navigation system that allows it to fly autonomously on preset route with a few taps on a smartphone, greatly reducing operational errors. The rotary atomization technology realizes variable-rate applications to precisely control flow rate, spray width and droplet size.
On the first field day to present the XAG P100 in the rice farm Cultivos Juan Hombron, XAG’s local partner SIAP conducted a demonstration that showed the drone could spray up to 18 hectares per hour.
The XAG P100 can also be used to evenly spread fertilizing granules, instead of using tractors or manual labor.
With the XAG P100 mounted on a specially designed attachment, the granules are sown evenly. Farmers can use less fertilizer in a more efficient way but still produce high-yield crops. Compared to ground vehicles, unmanned aerial operation can help avoid soil compaction and minimize yield losses.