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Mitsubishi, Mitsui plow tech into new solutions for agriculture

Drones, data harnessed to help farmers do more with less

Mitsubishi unit Skymatix provides unmanned aerial sprayers that farmers can program by tablet.

TOKYO -- Two of Japan's leading trading houses are backing high-tech services for farmers in an effort to branch out further beyond their hard-commodity businesses.

Mitsubishi Corp. will soon give growers a way to disperse agricultural chemicals more efficiently using drones. Skymatix, a Tokyo venture owned by the trader and IT group Hitachi, provides large unmanned aerial vehicles able to treat a hectare in about 10 minutes. Farmers input the fields they wanted treated, the chemicals to use and other information by tablet. Any reporting required by municipalities can managed in the cloud, eliminating the hassle of paper documents.

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