Now, UAVs make a statement in Kerala farms too

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applying Sampoorna, a crop-specific micronutrient formulation developed by Kerala Agricultural University for rice cultivation, at the Kolavally Padashekharam in Mullankolly grama panchayat in Wayanad district.  

The dearth of skilled workers following the lockdown restrictions, especially deploying manpower, has affected farming operations and put the farm community in a fix. However, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Ambalavayal under the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has found a solution in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The KVK conducted a UAV-based demonstration of fertilizer application for farmers at the Kolavally Padashekharam in Mullankolly grama panchayat in Wayanad on Saturday.

The application of ‘Sampoorna’, a micronutrient for rice cultivation, using an UAV was first of its kind in Wayanad and it evoked curiosity among villagers.

During these challenging times, mechanisation and measures to reduce the number of labourers at the same time and enhancing precise farming techniques to maximise production are called for, says Allan Thomas, head, KVK.

The extended time of operations and labour cost are the major issues affecting the agricultural sector. Both these issues are solved by the UAV, mostly called drone technology, that gives a new face to agricultural mechanisation, says Dr. Thomas.

UAVs have multiple applications in agriculture such as measuring nutrient levels, yield map, weed control. UAVs are significant where they replace labour-intensive and potentially harmful use of backpack sprayers and similar equipment, he says.

It reduces the risks of human spraying also. The manual spray takes around half-a-day per acre at a cost of ₹500 to 600 while a UAV takes around 5-10 minutes to spray an acre at a cost of ₹800 .The cost can be reduced by employing the equipment in a large area. Another advantage is that it is GPS enabled and ensures precise application of the mixture, says Dr.Thomas.

The height of flight, speed of drone, and fertilizer quantity were set by a group of scientists of the KAU consisting Aparna Radhakrishnan, K.P. Shivaji, V.P. Indulekha, and Sanju Balan.

Jiju P. Alex, Director of Extension, KAU, inaugurated the programme.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 2:59:41 PM |

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