I will discuss Thailand in a minute, but before I do let’s have a talk with my Great-grandmother Wise who passed away about 50 years ago at the age of 93 in Oklahoma. When she was a young girl, her family moved from Virginia to the Sooner state on a wagon being pulled by a team of horses. My great-grandfather worked in the oil fields and she did laundry to make ends meet. Life was tough back then.
Our conversations were usually brief as I was a young teenager and she was an old lady after all. I can still clearly remember one such talk.
Me: Men are going to fly to the Moon.
Her: Impossible! What are they teaching you in school nowadays?
I can remember thinking that she was really old and just did not understand modern times. Little did I know that my time would soon come. Shown below is my great-grandfather holding me with his wife and daughter (my grandmother) by his side.
Fast forward a few decades and let’s head out to a rice field in the middle of nowhere Thailand where I live. This area is known as the Rice Bowl in the Land of Smiles where it is common for farmers to grow three crops a year. My wife (Dee) is one of those farmers with 20 rai (2.5 rai = 1 acre) and one of the main complaints other than the selling price, is finding good and reliable help. Anymore, it’s damn near impossible.
Besides the difficulty of planting and the harvesting, the actual growing of the rice crop in a tropical environment is tough. Currently, workers are hired to spray the fields using heavy battery operated pump sprayers. These guys usually come as a team and charge B60 or $1.80 per rai. This is a labor intensive method and most young people will give it a pass and I can’t say that I blame them. I’ve done it and it ain’t fun. Plus most of the time, I would miss a patch and double spray another area as it is easy to get confused in the middle of a large rice field.
My Thai neighbor down the road recently purchased a new farming tool for B220,000 or about $6,800. It is the first in this neck of the woods and will be used for spraying the rice fields. Dee says that he is already booked solid. He currently charges B60 per rai and the farmer furnishes the chemicals.
He is charging the same amount as what a team of sprayers would charge. The big difference is that he can easily spray 100 rai a day as compared to three guys only spraying maybe 30 rai a day.
This farming drone is rather amazing to an old guy like me. The GPS coordinates are plugged in and the computer does the rest. The tank holds 1.7 liters and runs out after about 20 minutes. When that happens the drone automatically comes back to the operator for a refill and then continues spraying where it left off.
He asked me if I wanted to fly his farming drone, but I politely declined and my reasoning was solid. I was raised with the philosophy that anytime I borrowed something, I better be prepared to pay for it. He told me that it was difficult to crash and the child in me wanted to give it a go. But the adult me knew that I still struggle with a smartphone. All of a sudden I was my great-grandmother…