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Importance of Drone Technology in Indian Agriculture

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    8th Feb, 2022

Context

Union Finance Minister announced in her Budget speech that the Centre will promote ‘Kisan Drones‘ to help farmers assess crops, digitize land records as well as spray insecticides and nutrients.

  • The Finance Minister also said the government would promote start-ups through its ‘Drone Shakti’ initiative. It will facilitate the use of drones as a service.
  • Drone services is an emerging market that finds application in agriculture, construction, search and rescue, package delivery, industrial inspection, insurance and videography.

Analysis

WHY ADOPT AGRICULTURAL DRONES?

  • Drone technology has gotten most of the recognition in the industry because of its diversity and considered the future for the agrarian community.
  • The military initially used them. However, other sectors quickly embraced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) when they learned about its widespread applications.
  • Drones don't merely enhance overall performance but also encourage farmers to solve other assorted barriers and receive plenty of benefits through precision agriculture.
  • Agriculture drone empowers the farmer to adapt to specific environments and make mindful choices accordingly.
  • The gained data helps regulate crop health, crop treatment, crop scouting, irrigation, and carry out field soil analysis and crop damage assessments.
  • The drone survey helps boost crop yields and minimize time and expenses.

HOW DOES DRONE TECHNOLOGY WORK?

  • Typically, drones include a navigation system, GPS, multiple sensors, high-quality cameras, programmable controllers, and tools for autonomous drones.
  • Most farmers currently use satellite imagery as an introductory guide for farm management.
  • Furnished with modern technology, Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can get more precise data than satellites for precision agriculture.
  • They then process the data captured into agri-tech software to produce beneficial knowledge.
  • ata from agriculture drone takes place as in the following stages
    • Analyzing the area: Establishing a boundary, analyzing the area, and then finally, uploading the technical GPS information into the drone's navigation system.
    • Using Autonomous Drones: Since UAVs are independent, they enter flight patterns into their already established system to collect required data.
    • Uploading the data: After capturing all the required data through sensors such as the multispectral sensor/RGB sensor, it is processed through numerous software for further analysis and interpretation.
    • Output: After collecting the data, they format it so that farmers can understand the data with no hassle, bringing them a step closer to precision farming.

BEST DRONE PRACTICES/APPLICATION

  • Irrigation Monitoring: Drones, including hyperspectral, thermal, or multispectral sensors, recognize areas that are too dry or need improvement by the farmer. Drone survey helps improve water efficiency and disclose potential leaks in irrigation.
  • Crop Health Monitoring and Surveillance: It is crucial to track the health of the vegetation and spot bacterial/fungal plagues in the early stages. Agriculture drones can see which plants reflect different amounts of green light and Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) light. This data helps produce multispectral images to track crop health.
  • Crop Damage Assessment: Agricultural drones detect field areas inflicted by weeds, infections, and pests. According to this data, the exact amounts of chemicals needed to fight these infestations are known, and this helps diminish the costs inflicted by the farmer.
  • Field Soil Analysis: The drone survey allows farmers to obtain information about their land's soil conditions.
  • Planting: Drone startups in India have invented drone-planting systems that allow drones to shoot pods, their seeds, and crucial nutrients into the soil. This technology doesn't only reduce costs by almost 85% but also increases consistency and efficiency.
  • Agricultural spraying: Through drone crop spraying, human contact with such harmful chemicals is limited. Agri-drones can carry out this task much quicker than vehicles/airplanes. Drones with RGB sensors and multispectral sensors can precisely identify and treat problematic areas.
  • Livestock tracking: The drone survey allows the farmers not to keep track of their crops only but also monitor the movements of their cattle. Thermal sensor technology helps find lost animals and detect an injury or sickness. Drones can carry out this function favorably.

BENEFITS OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY

  • Enhanced Production - The farmer can improve production capabilities through comprehensive irrigation planning, adequate monitoring of crop health, increased knowledge about soil health, and adaptation to environmental changes.
  • Greater safety of farmers - It is safer and more convenient for farmers to use drones to spray pesticides in terrains challenging to reach, infected areas, taller crops, and power lines. It also helps farmers prevent spraying the crops, which leads to less pollution and chemicals in the soil.
  • Faster data for quick decision making - Drone surveys back farmers with accurate data processing that encourages them to make quick and mindful decisions.
  • Less wastage of resources - Agri-drones enables optimum usage of all resources such as fertilizer, water, seeds, and pesticides.
  • Useful for Insurance claims - Farmers use the data captured through drones to claim crop insurance in case of any damages.
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