TNAU uses satellite images for crop management

December 13, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 03:21 pm IST - COIMBATORE:

The images, and the data will help the State Government frame policies, says Vice-Chancellor

Soon after the recent rains hit hard the costal districts, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, calculated how much cultivated area was inundated. It also estimated the loss of paddy in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and other districts.

The University’s quick assessment and communication to the State Government is the result of the work it has been doing for four years now using images obtained from European Space Agency’s Sentinel 1A satellite.

The University’s access to the satellite images follows a tie-up under the ‘Remote Sensing Information for Insurance on Crops in Emerging Economies’ project with the Swedish Developmental Council, International Rice Research Institute and Sarmap of Switzerland.

The engagement with the European Space Agency is for accessing the satellite images and with the other two agencies for technology (software) to process the images and develop yield model, says S. Pazhanivelan, professor, Department of Remote Sensing and GIS, TNAU.

The University uses the images to identify crops, estimate area of cultivation, prepare seasonability map (track the start, end and progress of agriculture seasons), phenology map (various stages of crop) and yield map (estimate the yield).

The images, and the data deciphered there from will help the State Government frame policies and farmers get precise inputs and also quick disbursement of crop insurance, says Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy.

By studying the progress in cultivation from the satellite images, the government will be in a better position to decide the area that needs fertilizers and inputs on a priority basis, Mr. Pazhanivelan explains.

Again, by estimating the yield, the government will be in a position to decide how many paddy procurement centres it should open.

As for farmers, the process of availing of crop insurance will be easy as the satellite images will serve as proof of crop damage. Until now, the farmers will get compensation only if there is crop loss in the entire firka , he points out.

The farmers will also get to learn about soil conditions and nutrients needed.

The Vice-Chancellor adds: in the event of monsoon or drought, the satellite images will help the government with the extent of damages. This will ensure that the government take decision without delay.

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