Kerala

UAVs to the rescue of farmers

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applying liquid pseudomonas, an effective biocontrol agent against bacterial leaf blight and blast diseases, on a paddy field at Kuppadithara in Padinharethara grama panchayat in Wayanad district.  

The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Ambalavayal under Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has started execution of its modern rice technology protocol using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Wayanad district.

A demonstration of application of biocontrol agents with a UAV, executed with the support of the Padinharathara Krishi Bhavan on a five-acre paddy field at Kuppadithathara, has evoked curiosity among farmers.

The demonstration has been aimed at sensitising the farming community to achieving maximum production from a limited area and how to tide over the shortage of trained workers, says Allan Thomas, head, KVK.

It has also been envisaged to enhance precise farming techniques to maximise production even in small and medium landholdings, Dr. Thomas says.

During the programme, liquid pseudomonas, a biocontrol agent against bacterial leaf blight and blast diseases, has been sprayed. “We are planning to spray Sampoorna, a micronutrient for rice cultivation, after ten days,” says V.P. Indulekha, Scientist, Agronomy. Potassium nitrate, a fertilizer, would also be applied at grain filling stage using the UAV, she adds.

“While the KAU is celebrating its golden jubilee, the KVKs have a responsibility to promote technologies that can help farmers with good agricultural practices,” says Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu.

The programme has been conducted with the assistance of the ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI) under the guidance of the Directorate of Extension, KAU.

“The KVK hired the UAV from a private agency in Kochi for the demonstration purpose, which charges ₹600 for spraying the inputs on an acre. It would take around 30 to 40 minutes to spray the input on five acres,” says Dr. Thomas.

“If a group of farmers under a collective use the technology on a large area of land, it would help save time, effort, and money. Many a time farmers are forced to skip proper management practices owing to the dearth of trained workers. Now, they can execute all these using modern technology,” he says.

UAVs are suitable for spraying biocontrol agents and foliar fertilizers on crops such as ginger and turmeric apart from rice. However, the varsity has not recommended the technology for aerial spraying of pesticides, Dr. Thomas says.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 5:49:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/uavs-to-the-rescue-of-farmers/article36717633.ece

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