Trivandrum: The Thiruvananthapuram based Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) has developed new technology called Electronic Crop (E-Crop), an electronic crop simulator, which communicates to the farmers directly from the field on behalf of the crop. It informs the farmer about the status of the crop, its input requirements to realize a targeted yield as well as about the forecasts regarding the crop.
This system simulates crop growth real-time, in response to weather and soil parameter data collected from the field and generates agro advisory and send it to the farmer’s mobile as SMS. The first unit which was made at ICAR-CTCRI simulates the growth of sweet potato. For an area with same weather, one device is sufficient for the entire stretch to send information to all the farmers of that area. A single device can give advisory about many crops. Eg. rice, wheat, sweet potato, cassava, ground nut etc.
According to V S Santhosh Mithra, Principal Scientist (Computer Applications), CTCRI, this device is to be installed directly in the field so that it can collect weather and soil data real-time from the field. It uses solar power source for its functions. The sensors will collect the data on different weather and soil parameters like maximum and minimum temperature, solar radiation, relative humidity, day length, precipitation, soil moisture content wind velocity and wind direction real-time. The device generates agro advisory for the crop using the weather and soil data collected by the device. This advisory is sent to the mobile of the concerned farmer in the form of SMS.
This is an excellent device for precision farming which collects the data real-time from the field and then generate the advisory and inform the farmer about the present and future status of the crops as well as the strategies to manage the crop to get better results. The data collected by the devices installed in different fields give a very clear realistic overall status of the crop at present and in future. This information will be useful to the policy makers and planners as well as for tackling the market risk which usually emanates from unexpected boom in production / supply, fall in prices, etc.
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