Geo Gad­gets: Ad­vanc­ing Agri­cul­ture

Geospa­tial tech­nolo­gies are be­ing used in agri­cul­ture now and there are sev­eral suc­cess sto­ries. Greenseeker, with a GPS data log­ger to it, tries to find so­lu­tion to ram­pant use of ni­tro­gen by the farm­ers that is caus­ing soil degra­da­tion and un­der­ground w

Rural & Marketing - - CONTENT -

Tech­nolo­gies are the key for growth of the coun­try and geospa­tial tech­nolo­gies have come as a boon for agri­cul­ture sec­tor. Be it weather mon­i­tor­ing or use of in­puts, geo tech­nolo­gies are be­ing widely used and ap­pli­ca­tions based on the geo tech­nolo­gies have been im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of the sec­tor.

Re­cently at a sem­i­nar on Geospa­tial Tech­nolo­gies or­gan­ised by FICCI, a publi­ca­tion on ‘Suc­cess Sto­ries of Geospa­tial Tech­nolo­gies in India’ was re­leased. Suc­cess sto­ries are eye­opener in real sense. The com­pi­la­tion of suc­cess sto­ries is doc­u­men­ta­tion of in­dus­try mile­stone. It re­flects the mul­ti­di­men­sional us­age of geospa­tial tech­nol­ogy in India in var­i­ous sec­tors such as Agri­cul­ture, In­fra­struc­ture, Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Trans­porta­tion and Util­i­ties.

Case Study : Bet­ter Nu­tri­ent Man­age­ment

In 2011, a re­search pa­per pub­lished in an in­ter­na­tional re­search jour­nal: Agron­omy for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment had shown that it was pos­si­ble to save up to 15 per­cent ni­tro­gen in stand­ing Rice and Wheat crops in the plains of north­ern India where the crop sys­tems have most in­tense nu­tri­tion needs and of­ten over­dose of ni­tro­gen is en­cour­aged as the farm­ers com­pete to outdo each other in get­ting bet­ter crops. It is gen­er­ally per­ceived that greener the leaves bet­ter would be the har­vest. How­ever, the sci­en­tists have been claim­ing that more than that, ap­ply­ing the cor­rect doses at

the time of re­quire­ment is the key for bet­ter har­vest.

In or­der to un­der­stand the cor­re­la­tion of ni­tro­gen ap­pli­ca­tion and yield of crop, a very elab­o­rate re­search was un­der­taken over a pe­riod of three years in the Rice-Wheat crop­ping sys­tem ar­eas of north India. It was a joint ef­fort of sci­en­tists work­ing at the Pun­jab Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity-Lud­hi­ana, Direc­torate of Wheat Re­search-Kar­nal, Project Direc­torate for Farm­ing Sys­tems Re­search-Modipu­ram, RiceWheat con­sor­tium - CIMMYT, In­ter­na­tional Plant Nu­tri­tion Re­search In­sti­tute-Pune in as­so­ci­a­tion with sci­en­tists from the Ok­la­homa State Univer­sity and Kansas State Univer­sity.

It was a very am­bi­tious project that tries to find so­lu­tion to ram­pant use of ni­tro­gen by the farm­ers that is caus­ing soil degra­da­tion and un­der­ground wa­ter pol­lu­tion.

The study was done us­ing Trim­ble prod­uct Greenseeker that in­cludes an op­ti­cal hand held sen­sor and GPS data log­ger at­tached to it. It also has soft­ware from Trim­ble that al­lows re­ceiv­ing data in real time with lo­ca­tion ac­cu­racy. As per prac­tice, blan­ket rec­om­men­da­tion for N man­age­ment in Wheat con­sists of ap­ply­ing 1/3rd to half of the to­tal dose of 120 to 150 kg N/ha as basal at sow­ing and at crown root ini­ti­a­tion stage which co­in­cides with first ir­ri­ga­tion event around 21 days af­ter sow­ing. There are also re­ports that ap­pli­ca­tion of all N as basal at sow­ing can be ef­fi­ciently uti­lized by Wheat. Also be­cause Fer­tiliser N ap­pli­ca­tion to Wheat has to co­in­cide with an ir­ri­ga­tion event, ex­per­i­ments on eval­u­at­ing Green Seeker based N man­age­ment in wheat was un­der­taken un­der the project, keep­ing in view the fact that Green Seeker can be used to work out fer­tiliser N ap­pli­ca­tions to wheat at Feekes 5/6 and Feekes 7/8 stages which al­most co­in­cide with 2nd and 3rd ir­ri­ga­tion events. Se­condly mod­er­ate doses of N can be ap­plied as pre­scrip­tive N man­age­ment at sow­ing and at crown root ini­ti­a­tion stages when Green Seeker can­not be used.

Two ex­per­i­ments were con­ducted at Kar­nal and Lud­hi­ana in the Wheat season. At both Kar­nal and Lud­hi­ana, grain yield of wheat sim­i­lar to that pro­duced by ap­ply­ing blan­ket dose of 120

Geospa­tial Tech­nolo­gies are con­sid­ered as one of the most pow­er­ful tech­nolo­gies that can ef­fec­tively serve over­all de­vel­op­men­tal needs of the mod­ern world. To­day such ap­pli­ca­tions and tools are avail­able and are be­ing ad­vanced for im­proved per­for­mance of a coun­try to­wards all ma­jor ver­ti­cals of econ­omy like agri­cul­ture

A Di­dar Singh Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, FICCI

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