Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, October 15
On the second day of the 8th Asian-Australasian conference on precision agriculture at PAU, the keynote speaker of the day, Prof Viacheslav Adamchuk, Associate Professor and Chair, Biosource Engineering Department, McGill University, Canada, shared his views on sensor systems in precision agriculture with special emphasis on development of proximal soil and plant sensing systems, geospatial data processing and management and practical implementation of precision agriculture.
Sensor systems in precision agriculture
Adamchuk clarified that precision agriculture was not a set of technologies that could do magic, it could, however, find potential solutions by diagnosing production problems. He introduced the smart tractor concept that can match tractor operation with local conditions according to operator defined rules by use of external or internal sensors. “There is no such situation where precision agriculture does not work. There are many instances where promoted solutions are not appropriate for solving a given set of problems, or are not executed correctly,” said Dr Adamchuk.
Commercialisation of robotic machinery
Prof Manoj Karkee, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, dwelled on commercialisation of robotic machinery in farming. Specialising in apple picking robotic technology, Karkee revealed that as a result of artificial intelligence and remote sensing techniques, efforts are on to commercialise the machinery in countries like the US and Canada where apple was a major crop and trees were trained to make it easier for robots to work, he believed that with decreasing costs and machinery becoming smarter, the commercialisation would take two to three years. This would be followed by examining results of early adoption in corporate farms and then improvise the same for commercialisation in India. “It is ironical that agriculture is the most important industry in the world, feeding millions, yet operating on a very tiny capital compared to so many other industries where huge capital is spent,” he pondered.
Digital agriculture through industry revolution
In her telling presentation on digital agriculture through industry revolution 4.0, Dr Sagaya Amlathas, programme director, School of Computer Science and Information Technology, Taylor’s University, Selangore, Malaysia, suggested that the gaps in precision agriculture could be addressed by digital agriculture technology using IR 4.4 ( used in mobile phones) that uses sensors, internet of things and GPS. She enlightened the participants that a few years back, the concept of digital agriculture was alien to farmers but with revolution in mobile phones which uses IR 4.4 technology, farmers could take pictures of their farms and upload on various applications which then got processed into the cloud designed by experts who could get back to them with solutions.
Technical sessions included oral presentations on automation in farm machinery and robotics in PA, optimisation modelling and decision support system in PA, geospatial technologies and environment control in agriculture and hyperspectral remote sensing applications including UAV platforms in agriculture. The evening session had e-poster presentations by delegates, followed by a colourful cultural programme.
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