1. Agriculture World

Kerala Agri Varsity Receives Funding for Research & Demonstration of Drones

KVKs in the state have also conducted on-farm trials (OFTs) and front-line drone demonstrations. Drone spraying of Sampoorna micronutrient has resulted in a 20-22% increase in yield. The rice bug population in Palakkad has been reduced by 80% thanks to a drone-based spray of the entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana.

Shivam Dwivedi
Agricultural Drone
Agricultural Drone

The Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare has approved Rs 65 lakh in funding for the Kerala Agricultural University's research and demonstration of drone-based agricultural technologies. While Rs 35 lakh has been set aside for drone research, the remaining Rs 30 lakh has been set aside for large-scale demonstrations of drone use in fields by Krishi Vigyan Kendras in Wayanad, Palakkad, Kollam, and Kottayam.

KAU began drone trials in 2019 and has standardized a number of flight and spray parameters. The first trials used biocontrol agents like Pseudomonas fluorescens and micronutrient formulations like Sampoorna for rice.

Starting in 2020, startups mentored by KAU began spraying with drones in various crops, particularly rice, using procedures standardized by the University, in line with guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry.

KVKs in the state have also conducted on-farm trials (OFTs) and front-line drone demonstrations. Drone spraying of Sampoorna micronutrients has resulted in a 20-22% increase in yield.

The rice bug population in Palakkad has been reduced by 80% thanks to a drone-based spray of the entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana.

According to trials, drones can complete the spray operation 24 times faster than manual labour. Drones have been used to spray nearly 16,580 acres of paddy with bio-control agents and water-soluble fertilizers. KAU also used drones to help manage bacterial leaf blight outbreaks in rice in Thrissur last year.

The funding will boost Kerala Agricultural University's research and extension capabilities in the field of drones, according to Vice-Chancellor R. Chandra Babu.

The funds will be used to expand drone trials to crops such as pineapple, banana, ginger, turmeric, and tapioca. KAU scientists will also use drones for crop monitoring and surveillance to boost precision agriculture, he added.

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