Authorities in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang Province recently began using drones to spray disinfectant after floods caused by Typhoon Khanun have subsided.
Chinese media reported that in Wuchang, a city known for its high-quality rice, China’s staple grain, local officials responsible for agricultural matters deployed nine plant protection drones to spray the sterilizing agent.
In video footage, the drones are seen taking off from the field and flying across acres of rice paddies along pre-planned routes, raining disinfectant to kill the bacteria that proliferated after the flooding.
“We filled the drone’s chemical tank with chlorine-laced disinfectants,” said Wang Rui, a director with the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Harbin, the provincial capital that governs Wuchang.
“To ensure safety, we ordered local villagers and all other personnel to remain indoors and not go out until 30-40 minutes after the sterilization was over.”
Personnel tasked with disinfection have fanned out to areas surrounding Wuchang, a region traditionally known as China’s breadbasket.
Drones have been adopted on a growing scale across China in agricultural production, covering use cases from plant protection to planting seeds, from pest control to surveying soil conditions.
“Our drones are dozens of times more effective than traditional manual spraying of disinfectant,” said Gao Wenhui, general manager of Shenzhou Jingying Tech Co., Ltd, a tech firm in Harbin. “Each drone carries 50 liters of the agent on a flight.”
He added that it took the firm half an hour to sterilize a village with four drones.