By Ryohei Moriya / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerThe gentle sound of propellers can be heard as a drone flies over rice fields that are beginning to turn yellow. Its altitude, speed and route are all preprogrammed.
Ichikawa Farm in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, flies a small drone during cultivation of its pesticide-free rice about once a month. A special camera attached to the drone, which is flown 60 meters above the paddies, can capture near-infrared images and takes more than 1,000 pictures on each flight. The farm can check crop growing conditions based on computer analysis of the images.