Farmers learn about benefits in deploying drones in fields to take care of crops

Updated - February 18, 2024 02:34 am IST

Published - February 18, 2024 02:33 am IST - CHENNAI

For farmers of Vaiyavur in Chengalpattu district, there are new helpers on the farms; they are happy that their new helpers will just do as told and not refuse anything, or protest at poor wages. These new helpers are nothing but drones. Farmers seemed to have realised the importance of deploying drones for various agricultural activities such as spraying of pesticide or crop dusting. With shortage of manpower hitting many villages, using technology is a happier option for them. 

Kamakshi Parthiban, a farmer, said that in agriculture timing was important. If the farm hands come late, the pests might spread and affect more plants. “But if we can get drones on rent with people to operate them, it would help a lot. Walking in the fields is a problem sometimes since there could be snakes and other rodents, the drones will help avoid that too,” said the farmer who attended a training programme organised by a batch of students of SRM College of Agricultural Sciences as part of a rural project. 

The students have been staying at the village and involving the farming community in various activities, including training them in the use of drones, mushroom cultivation, terrace gardens, better pest management and providing information about loans and subsidies, explained Karthika Nath, a final year student. 

M. Ram, CEO and founder, Astrox Aerospace Pvt Ltd., which provided training to the women farmers said that it is easier to cover larger fields using drones. “The equipment can also pinpoint the problematic area. In several villages, farmers are coming together to buy a drone and share it. It takes only 5-8 minutes to spray one acre using a drone,” he explained. 

According to S. Marimuthu, HOD and assistant professor in Agronomy, SRM College of Agricultural Sciences, drones help reduce the quantity of fertilizer used by an average of 26%. It also eliminates the need for the farmer to visually inspect the crops. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Agronomy, organised a demonstration on drone applications in agriculture. The resource person for the programme was Chandru, Entrepreneur in Residence (SRMIST). He explained to the students variable rate fertilizer application, variable spraying, and image synthesis, and also, he gave a hands-on training to the students to operate the drone. In this event, the dignitary M.Jawarharlal, Dean (SRMCAS) was also present. 

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