Government Subsidy: To promote the use of drones, the Government on Saturday offered a 100 percent grant up to the cost of Rs 10 lakh to Agricultural Institutes for purchase of drones for Farming and its allied activities.
In addition, the Government has also provided a grant of 75 percent of the cost of drone to the farmers producers organizations (FPOs) for displaying on the farmers’ fields, according to a senior officer of the Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Ministry.
Subsidy & Grant for Purchase of Drones
The Government has issued revised guidelines to make drone technology inexpensive to the stakeholders of this sector. In its guidelines on “Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization” (SMAM), it has envisaged 100 percent grant or Rs. 10 lakhs, whichever is less, to the Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, ICAR Institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras & State Agriculture Universities.
A contingency outlay of Rs.6000 / hectare will also be given to the implementing agencies for hiring Drones from Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) for display. The contingent expenditure to implementing agencies who buy drones for drone demonstrations will be given at Rs.3000 / hectare.
At first, financial assistance and grants will be available till 31 March 2023, and then it would be reviewed again, the Government said. The existing Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) that has been established by Cooperative Society of Farmers / FPOs will also be given a grant of 40 percent of the basic cost of the drone & its attachments up to Rs. 4lakh, the Ministry informed.
But if a CHC has been set up by Agriculture graduates, the subsidy will increase to 50 percent of the basic cost of drones up to Rs. 5 lakhs. The Ministry said, “The subsidized purchase of agri drones for CHCs/Hi-tech Hubs will make the technology inexpensive, resulting in their widespread adoption. This will make drones more accessible to the common man in the country and will significantly encourage domestic drone production”.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) along with the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are in the process of allowing drone operations through a conditional exemption route. Moreover, the Agri Ministry has also come up with the Standard Operating Procedures for the use of Drone application with pesticides for crop protection in agricultural, forestry & non-cropped areas.
What do drones do in agriculture?
Agriculture drones can be used to do anything from precision agriculture, to efficiently dispersing weed control or fertilizers, to optimizing field management. The results include reduced operation costs, improved crop quality, and increased yield rate.
The rapidly changing world of agriculture
The farming operations of today look quite different than even a few decades ago. New technology has allowed the growers of today to optimize each part of their operations — from field spraying to grow cycles and crop health.
A big part of that transformation can be attributed to drones and other types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). With an agriculture drone, farmers get in-depth data analysis and mission planning as well as new tools capable of handling physical work.
Spraying a field with a UAV
The Agras line of spraying drones from DJI can help precisely deliver the following:
The efficient application of the above is a persistent challenge for any grower. If you spray too much concentrated in one place, you run up extra costs and potentially decrease the quality of your produce. Too low a concentration, however, and you leave your crops vulnerable to being overgrown with weeds, malnourished, or eaten by insects and other predators — potentially decreasing the yield rate.
However, the right farming drones and spraying payloads can distribute chemicals evenly and efficiently.
The results? Improved crop quality and a higher yield rate without intense manual labor. DJI drones can be used on nearly any kind of crop, including rice, wheat, corn, citrus trees, cotton, and much more.
Using drones to gather data for precision agriculture
Smart spraying and seeding aren’t the only ways to increase overall agricultural efficiency, cut costs, or increase yields. Drones can also be used to map out an area and create new insights — taking the guesswork out of much of the growing process.
One of the keys to all of this is remote sensing technology, which picks up radiation on the ground and can track everything from physical characteristics to the amount of heat an area is generating. The best agriculture mapping drones take this concept further with what’s called multispectral imaging. This means that they can capture light sensors both visible and invisible within a set range. Two key types of maps that can be created with this kind of agricultural drone include:
- RGB maps: A birds-eye view but even better, even a basic Red Green Blue (RGB) map can offer fresh information. These maps allow you to see exactly how much land you have to grow on to the centimeter and assist with crop monitoring over an extended period of time, helping you adjust from season to season.
- NDVI maps: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) takes the insights of an RGB map one step further. The map shows the amount of infrared light reflected in an area, which is an indicator of malnourishment and drought.
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