Precision Agriculture: Innovations Driving India’s Farming Future

Source: https://agfundernews.com/why-precision-agriculture-is-essential-in-combating-climate-change

Precision Agriculture

    What if farming, one of the oldest professions, got an update? In India, geospatial innovations are being utilized to enhance agricultural yields and efficiencies. Precision agriculture is farming that uses technology, such as GIS, GPS, satellite imagery, automation, and more, rather than solely traditional farming methods. By doing this, precision farming enhances sustainability by allowing a more efficient use of land, water, fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides. Precision farmers employ fewer resources to produce more, which lowers costs and has a positive environmental impact. Precision agriculture comprises five primary areas of technology: auto guidance, machine section control, variable rate technology, machine and fleet analytics, and precision irrigation.

    Auto guidance, also known as auto steer, automatically steers equipment using GPS to prevent overlap when tilling, planting, spraying, and harvesting. The amount of time, labor, fuel, and materials consumed is decreased by this more efficient procedure. The machine section control activates and deactivates the sections of the fertilizer, sprayer, and planter in previously treated crop rows. By optimizing material application, this lowers costs and has a positive environmental impact. Using sensors or preprogrammed maps, variable rate technology determines the appropriate application rates for seeds, fertilizer, and crop protection products. GPS, yield monitors, and sensors for crops and soil are examples of auxiliary technologies that this equipment may make use of. Machine and fleet analytics include tracking an equipment’s location in real time and suggesting possible routes. This technique contributes to both reduced fuel use and increased asset utilization. Applying varying amounts of water to distinct regions is possible with precision irrigation. Water consumption can be decreased without compromising crop production by administering a precise amount of water when needed. Moreover, these are not the only technologies used in precision farming.

    The Role of GIS

      A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer hardware that allows geographic data to be managed, stored, processed, edited, produced, and visualized. It is able to display information that is spatially referenced. Farmers can map field data, organize and analyze it, and remotely monitor their crops thanks to the usage of GIS in agriculture. Farm automation for precision agriculture has been aided by satellite monitoring, drones, robotics, and GPS, all forms of GIS. Through data visualization, GIS assists farmers in identifying patterns and trends, implementing change detection, and promptly resolving problems. GIS is a key component of precision agriculture since it helps gather and analyze vast amounts of field data for well-informed decision-making. 

      Source: https://gis-university.com/gis-in-agriculture/

      For instance, you can more effectively manage your crops throughout the growing season and identify yield-limiting factors by regularly and quantitatively assessing vegetation, crop yields, status, and variation across your land, from bare soil to a dense canopy, with the use of satellite imagery and GIS data. In addition, the most useful information satellites contribute to precision agriculture is NDVI maps or Green Vegetation Indices. Farmers can use green vegetation index maps to measure the quantity of green vegetation that is currently present in their fields, as well as to assess soil health and moisture content. These maps demonstrate the combined effect of inputs and physical, environmental, and cultural elements influencing their crops. Green vegetation maps, which indicate where to scout and sample, the amount and severity of problem areas, protect their crops, and take action to fix any possible problems including droughts and flooding, are a substantial revenue-enhancing instrument.

      Source: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/precision-soil-sampling-every-farm-needs-it 

      Another example is soil zone mapping. A soil map shows the many types of soil in a given geographic area along with some of their characteristics. Using GIS, the technique known as “soil zone mapping” makes a map of a field’s soil surface that displays its properties. The differences in the landscape are easily visible with a soil zone map; the darker colors denote wet or organic soils, whereas the lighter colors suggest dry, saline, or coarsely textured soils. Variations in hue frequently reflect topography differences between fields, which can have a significant impact on your zone map generation and crop management plans for applications involving precision agriculture.

      Precision Farming in India

      A study was conducted by R. Maheswari, K.R. Ashok and M. Prahadeeswaran from the Department of Agricultural Economics at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. The purpose of this study was to investigate how precision farming affects farmers who are less fortunate in areas with limited resources. The study has specifically examined productivity, income, employment, and the adoption pattern of this technology in the agricultural sector in India. Data on precision and non-precision farming techniques were gathered in the Dharmapuri area in 2007 using an interview schedule. By breaking down the productivity change, the sources of the productivity gap between traditional and precision farming was revealed. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), sensors, satellites, or aerial photos, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were all used in this study.

      An econometric model with two stages was used to study the financial impact of adoption. The initial phases of the model was an adoption choice model that explains the variables influencing the possibility of adopting precision farming. The model’s second step calculated the effect of precision farming on farm financial performance using the model’s initial stage’s results. According to the study, the use of precision farming has increased tomato yields by 80% and brinjal production by 34%. It has been demonstrated that the increase in gross margin in tomato and brinjal cultivation is 165 and 67%, respectively. In the production of tomatoes and brinjal, technology has contributed 33.71 percent and 20.48 percent, respectively, to improved yields through precision farming. According to the elasticity of 0.28 and 0.39 for tomatoes and brinjal, respectively, there is a corresponding rise in net return of 28% and 39% in tomato and brinjal agriculture, with an adoption probability of 10% greater. One of the biggest barriers to precision farming adoption has been found to be a lack of funding and credit availability. According to the study, more precision farming will be practiced if expenses for pump sets and fertilizers that dissolve in water are covered.

      Conclusion

      In conclusion, precision farming has the ability to be a useful tool for efficiency, increased profits, and more sustainable practices. In addition to this, it has been found that a healthy ecosystem is facilitated by precision farming since it minimizes the need for pesticides and overuse of fertilizer. However, there are some setbacks such as financial barriers to equipment, as this study reveals. Regardless, this study showcases the benefits of precision farming that prove it is worth adopting.