Technology is redefining the agricultural landscape, introducing new methods and tools that aim to strengthen the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of the sector.
Increasingly intelligent objects are being used in modern agriculture to perform a broad range of functions, from sensors placed in the fields to satellites in orbit, from tractors to increasing numbers of drones. This growing interconnection has given rise to Agriculture 4.0, in which every element of the agricultural system is optimised.
Emerging technologies such as high-speed connections, powerful computing capabilities, new sensors and, in particular, drones are offering unprecedented opportunities. These drones, both ground and airborne, represent a revolution in terms of monitoring and intervention. In the rice sector, the introduction of these technologies leads to new, fascinating scenarios.
In Europe, the use of drones for agriculture is at an early stage, while in other places, such as Asia, the use of drones in distributing plant protection products has been well-established for at least 20 years. It has become especially widespread with rice and wheat crops and has also developed with fruit trees and other crops.
The ability to perform these operations precisely is crucial to success, especially when working with ultra-concentrated dosages. Avoiding over-exposure or omission is crucial to prevent plant damage or sub-optimal results. Thanks to sophisticated proximity radars, modern equipment can operate at low altitudes and in direct proximity to crops, ensuring a stable flight and uniform distribution.
However, the use of these objects in rice farming is not limited to these aspects, but rather is expanding and offering various functions.
In the context of rice farming, these devices can be used profitably in a wide range of applications:
The numerous applications of drones in rice cultivation result in several important benefits, which can radically transform crop management and efficiency.
As the use of drones expands in various sectors, critical issues related to the use of a rapidly developing technology are also emerging.
The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (Enac) plays a key role in regulating the use of drones, partly following European regulations.
A major concern is related to the ability of drones to capture images and videos, with the risk of invading the privacy of individuals and properties. Although in agriculture the main objective is to monitor crops, images may be captured from outside the boundaries of the plot. Aerial footage, if not properly managed, may in fact infringe the right to privacy, making it difficult to manage the required authorisations.
Another critical aspect concerns the possibility of violating airspace, which could pose a risk to aviation.
Therefore, drone operators must be well informed and comply with current regulations, using equipment ethically and responsibly, while ensuring transparency in the collection and use of data.