P. Sudhakar

To predict weather with high degree of precision "As we can forecast the climatic changes for about 6 km radius with this weather station, we are planning to pass on the predictions to the farmers in some areas of Nanguneri taluk"

TIRUNELVELI: The TVS Agri Sciences Research Institute (TVSASRI) at Ervadi has installed a highly versatile imported automatic weather station at its sprawling farm to predict weather changes with high degree of precision.

When the TVSASRI decided to dedicate over 40 hectare of its farm for research on semi-arid tropic crops such as sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeon pea, blackgram, castor, jatropha and groundnut and thereby supplying certified, high yielding seeds of these plants, it had to establish its own weather station to predict the climatic changes in and around the farm.

As the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) joined hands with TVSASRI, it was decided to put in the Rs.5-lakh-worth weather station, fabricated by Campbell Scientific Inc., United States of America, capable of predicting 23 parameters of weather changes.

Installed a year ago, the solar-powered weather station collects data for every ten minutes on minimum and maximum temperature, rainfall, wind direction, wind speed, solar radiation, air temperature, low and high relative humidity, soil temperature at 5 cm, 10 cm and 20 cm depth. All the weather parameters are automatically logged in the data logger at the farm and transmitted to the weather research centre at ICRISAT, Hyderabad.

After analysing the weather report from Ervadi, the scientists of ICRISAT send their findings back to the TVSASRI.

"Based on this highly reliable weather report, we take all precautionary measures. As we can forecast the climatic changes for about 6 Km radius with this weather station, we are planning to pass on the predictions to the farmers in some areas of Nanguneri taluk. We have plans to expand this service to all agriculturists of Nanguneri and Radhapuram taluks initially. It would be expanded to the three districts of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts in the next one year or so for the benefit of the farmers," Badri Narayanan of TVSASRI told The Hindu .

Since the rainfall, relative humidity, solar radiation, soil temperature could be accurately predicted with this resourceful weather station, the information would be passed on to the farmers so that they could keep themselves ready to commence the farming operations or take precautionary measures to protect their crops, said T. Theetharappan, the Manager of TVSASRI.

Apart from this, the TVSASRI has also established facilities such as Digital Runoff Recorder and a Sediment Sampler for measuring runoff and soil loss.

More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL