How can IoT Help in Efficient Use of Agrochemicals?
After the end of World War I, the United States shifted its industries from the wartime production of chemicals to synthetic agriculturally used pesticide creation. Synthetic pesticides proved cheap and effective in killing insects and gained widespread popularity in a short span of time.
Today, over 3.5 billion kilograms of synthetic pesticides are used for the world's agriculture in an over $45 billion industry.
The use of pesticides in agricultural fields, however, has disastrous impacts. It degrades and damages the microorganism community living in the soil, particularly when these chemicals are overused.
Many agrochemicals are persistent soil contaminants, whose impact may endure for decades and adversely affect soil conservation. Nitrogen fixation, which is required for the growth of plants, is hindered by pesticides in soil. The insecticides DDT, methyl parathion, and pentachlorophenol have been shown to interfere with legume-rhizobium chemical signalling. Reduction of this symbiotic chemical signalling results in reduced crop yields. Pesticides also affect crops including poor root hair development, shoot yellowing and reduced plant growth. Pesticides also affect several birds and insects that serve as pollinators. The USDA and USFWS estimate that US farmers lose at least $200 million a year from reduced crop pollination because pesticides applied to fields eliminate about a fifth of honeybee colonies in the US and harm an additional 15%.
Can IoT Help to Cut Down Excessive Use of Agrochemicals?
Farmers follow a generalised schedule and only take action when symptoms of infestation start to appear on the crops. They tend to overspray the chemicals for a short period. This allows pathogens to preside over the crop, exacting significant economic cost.
Yuktix GidaBits® is a complete system for early warning and management of the disease for farms. The system comprises sensor devices that capture environmental determinants at the farm and software that can run disease models to predict the onset of an attack. The grower can get early warning and disease management help via Yuktix mobile app.
Disease Forecast on the Yuktix App
Advisory on the Yuktix App
The GidaBits® cloud software can run the disease and pest models automatically and distribute the early warning to a list of subscribers. The experts can bring in their disease models for their specialty crops. The GidaBits® platform uses delta T calculations and weather forecasts to advise on the best spraying times. The disease management advisories are dispensed in consultation with agronomists.
Yuktix Technologies helps in cutting the cost of cultivation by:
Choosing which spray to use - This depends upon several factors like weather conditions, the life cycle of the pest and the disease intensity. Contact fungicides-having lower costs- persists on crop leaves and control the fungi when it comes in contact with it while systemic fungicides-having high costs- are translocated into the plant.
How much to use - Different crops require different amounts of pesticide spray to achieve effective pest or disease control.
Consider this: A farmer growing tomatoes needs to spray at least twice a week for precautionary measures. Tomatoes are harvested within 5 months (25 weeks) from the day of sowing.
On a 1-acre land, 1 spray costs about Rs 900. The minimum number of sprays is 25 sprays per season.
Cost of sprays without our data = 25 x 900 = Rs 22,500
Yuktix helps save about Rs 400 for each spray.
Cost of sprays with our data = Rs 22,500 - Rs 10,000 = Rs 12,500
Santosh is the owner of 1 acre of capsicum land in Srinivaspura, Karnataka. His field was under severe thrips attack. He used to apply high formulation in consultation with the local dealers in the initial stages that were damaging the crop.
Yuktix Solution: Detecting thrips is not easy. Thrips pierce the cells of the plants they feed on and suck out the juices, and they spread viruses. The feeding begins when the leaves are still inside the buds, or fruits are still inside the flowers, and damage is only seen when they expand. It may not be possible to find the thrips on damaged leaves because they have already moved to feed elsewhere.
Yuktix GidaBits® does PEST forecasting using growing degree days (GDD). The platform calculates GDD and identifies each generation of the pest. This helps in the timely application of pesticides and insecticides.
The grower gets the right chemical application and precautionary sprays depending on his farm condition for disease management from the GidaBits® app.
The number of sprays was reduced from 6 to 3 by applying the right amount of chemicals at the right time.
The farmer was able to mitigate the losses from thrips attack.