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Agriculture Technology : Use of satellite images for crop management

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore access to the satellite images follows a tie-up under the ‘Remote Sensing Information for Insurance on Crops in Emerging Economies’ project with the Swedish Developmental Council, International Rice Research Institute and Sarmap of Switzerland.

TNAU calculated how much cultivated area was inundated. It also estimated the loss of paddy in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and other districts. S. Pazhanivelan, professor, Department of Remote Sensing and GIS, TNAU said that the engagement with the European Space Agency is for accessing the satellite images and with the other two agencies for technology (software) to process the images and develop yield model.

The images from satellite are used to identify crops, estimate area of cultivation, prepare seasonality map (track the start, end and progress of agriculture seasons), phenology map (various stages of crop) and yield map (estimate the yield).

This helps the State Government frame policies and farmers get precise inputs and also quick disbursement of crop insurance, says Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy. By studying the progress in cultivation from the satellite images, the government will be able to decide the area that needs fertilizers and primary needed inputs. The farmers will also get to learn about soil conditions and nutrients.