Kufos, CWRDM develop space tech-based spectral library of Uma rice

The spectral library will enhance precision farming practices and contribute to improved crop management strategies

December 23, 2023 07:43 pm | Updated 07:43 pm IST - KOCHI

A team of scientists from the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) and the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) have jointly developed a spectral library for Uma rice, a popular indigenous rice variety of Kerala, using space technology.

The team led by Girish Gopinath of Kufos used remote sensing to study variations in the spectral signature of Uma rice plants at different growth stages and, among other things, identified water stress conditions.

The spectral library for Uma rice will enhance precision farming practices and contribute to improved crop management strategies, says T. Pradeepkumar, Vice-Chancellor, Kufos.

The spectral library also helps in making precise assessments of the spatial distribution of the rice variety in specific locations, understanding growth stages, and assessing influences of water or nutrient stress. Additionally, it enables yield estimates using remote sensing imagery.

Dr. Gopinath says space technology-based spectrum has the potential to revolutionise the way rice cultivation is monitored, reducing the need for extensive fieldwork, labour, and costs. U. Surendran led the team of scientists from the CWRDM.

The study, ‘Development of spectral library for hyperspectral data with special emphasis on paddy’, was funded by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment with a grant of ₹83.5 lakh.

Uma rice, also known as ‘unda rice’, characterised by its round shape and sticky texture, is a popular variety released from the Mancompu research station of Kerala Agricultural University in 1998. The rice variety has been preferred in Kuttanad since its launch for its high yield and stress tolerance.

It has gradually become the most commonly grown rice variety in Kerala. It holds a special place in Kerala’s culinary landscape, contributing to the State’s diverse food culture.

Despite the challenges posed by climate change and associated extreme events affecting paddy cultivation in the State, Uma rice remains a staple, facing uneven rainfall triggering drought conditions and water stress.

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