UAVS IN AGRICULTURE

  • With unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones emerging as a powerful tool in the agricultural sector, a progressive farmer in Kerala’s Wayanad has trained himself in the technology for use in his plantation as well as to train officials of various government agencies.
  • P. Chandrasekharan, an engineer turned farmer at Muttil in the district, has been using the technology on his farm and trained the officials for the past year after completing a six-month online course on ‘Drones for Agriculture’ from the Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands.
  • He procured a base model drone and started trials by calculating the area, elevation, and gradient in his own plantation, and later started doing bigger projects.
  • “Aerial spraying is just a minimal application,” says Mr. Chandrasekharan. Whereas with the help of various software and different types of sensors, the potential of drones is innumerable, says the farmer.

Major advantage

  • The major advantage of the technology is the access to real-time information on the field. Selective application of weedicides, fertilizers and micronutrients can be done in precision farming. Drones can also improve agricultural practices at a low cost.
  • “Until a few years ago, we had been relying on satellite images for agricultural needs, but now drones have made it more accessible,” Mr. Chandrashekharan said.
  • The advantage of drone imaging is more accurate and precise than satellite images, as the former can capture micro-level images. In cloudy weather conditions, the satellite images get obstructed but the weather conditions would not affect the drone imaging.
  • Chandrasekharan had handled various sessions on “Drones and Artificial Intelligence in agriculture” for the officials of the Agricultural Department and Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), Wayanad, as well as the scientists of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ambalavayal, and the ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute in Thiruvananthapuram.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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