Precision Farming- An innovative approach ?

Prerna Chib
The century’s most valuable innovation in farm management is based on using Information and Communications and technologies. An information and technology based farm management system identifies, analyses and manages variability in fields by conducting crop production practices at the right place, on right time and in right way for optimum productivity, profitably, sustainability and protection of land resources.
Firstly, let me tell you What is Precision Farming?
Precision farming is an approach where inputs are utilised in precise amount to get increased average yield, compared to traditional cultivation technologies. In India, one major problem is the small field size. More than 58% of operational holdings in country have size less than one hectare. Only in States like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat do more than 20 percent of agricultural lands have an operational holding size of more than 4 ha. Commercial as well as Horticultural crops show a wider Scope of PA in agriculture.
Why is there need of Precision Farming?
With increase in technologies and techniques, it is increasingly becoming possible to earn more from single piece of land and it was never done before. Precision agriculture is such a concept, which is based upon measuring and responding to inter and intra field variability in Crops.
It relies upon collecting the real data on the conditions of crops, soil, ambient air, along with other relevant hyper local weather predictions. This data is processed to provide farmer a appropriate knowledge, so that he can manage harvesting time, crop rotation, irrigation timings etc.
And here some points listed are:
To increase agriculture productivity.
Prevents soil degradation.
Reduction of chemical application in crop production.
Efficient use of water resources.
Environmental perspective.
Economic perspective.
Precision Farming major focuses on observation management and responses to variability in crops, animals and field. Benefits include increasing crop yields, crop reduction, optimisation of crop input.
Some technologies used in Precision Farming are:-
Technologies include a vast array of tools of hardware, software and equipment.
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers
Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)
Geographic Information System (GIS)
Remote Sensing
Variable Rate Applicator
Combine Harvesters with Yield Monitors.
Tools/ Components for Precision Farming:
Drip Irrigation:- The droplets are directed to the crop proper at low pressure, and lack of water nearby hinders the development of weeds. Thus, it not only prevents plant starvation due to weeds but greatly reduces the volume of necessary water, which is among the major benefits of drip irrigation.
Drones:- Drones are being adopted more in agriculture and farming due to the high volume of analysis they can do in a relatively short amount of time. To be able to survey a field, estimate crop yield, or keep track of your livestock, means farmers can be more efficient.
Solar Pumps:- Solar pumps are an attractive alternative technology for irrigation, which serves as a cost effective mode of irrigation with low maintenance requirements.
Yield Maps:- Yield mapping is a technology that collects the data about the yield and other crop characteristics during the harvest, and over a specific location. This remarkable technology allows farmers to view the spatial yield variation across the field.
Fertilizer applicators and many more are there.
Present Status of Precision Agriculture in India:
The first thing that comes to mind is that, this system is not for developing countries, especially India. Where farmers are poor, and land holding is also small.
application of Precision agriculture is presently at the nascent stage in India.
Without Integration of Farmers especially, small and Marginal farmer the precision model will remain incomplete.
Tata Kisan Kendra: This concept of Precision farming was implemented by TKKs, TCL’s extension services, brought to farmers through TKKs, use remote sensing technology to analyze soil, inform about crop health, pest attack and coverage of various crops predicting the final output. This help farmers to adapt quickly to change conditions. This results, healthier crops, higher yield, and enhanced income for farmers.
Scope of adoption of Precision agriculture in India:
Presently, India is producing more than 200Mt of food grains which makes India self sufficient in food production. But only quantity cannot meet the need of globalized agricultural market. Excellent quality as well as high productivity will be the key factor to compete with others and the huge scope for PA in India. In Production, India holds world’s rank within 10 in most of the crops (wheat, rice, pulses, cotton etc).
Everything can wait, Agriculture can’t! – By Norman Borlaug
As there were some positive facts, but yes we can’t ignore the negative effects of the Precision farming too in case of India, So it is in our hand what you prefer! It is on you
(The author is an Agriculturist, pursuing Bachelor’s in Hons of Agriculture from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu)