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Jammu and Kashmir’s Apple, Saffron to Benefit from CSIR’s Agro-tech

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SRINAGAR: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has initiated a mission to boost farmers’ income in Jammu and Kashmir by employing precision agriculture techniques for specific crops.

The project involves utilizing IoT-based sensors and drone-based imaging for real-time data on soil and crop health.

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Excelsior reported that Apple, Saffron, Paddy, and Gerbera are the focus crops. The CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu will oversee activities. Advanced technologies such as soil Optix and UAV-based multispectral imaging will be used to optimize mineral nutrition, irrigation, and pest management.

Moreover, the goal is to develop improved crop-specific agrotechnologies for sustainable yields and enhanced profitability. The mission aligns with the economic value and significance of the apple, saffron, paddy, and gerbera crops in the region.

Under this, the scientists would measure and document real-time data on soil and crop health indicators using advanced technologies like soil Optix for soil health mapping and multispectral imaging of crop canopy through UAVs for crop health monitoring.

The outcome would help to develop improved crop-specific agrotechnologies for enhancing soil and plant health through optimisation of mineral nutrition, irrigation, real-time crop management, and agronomic practices for good crop husbandry, pest-disease management, and achieving quality and sustainable crop yields.

The investigation would serve as the baseline data for mapping soil health and preparation of high-definition nutrient and texture maps of the soil. These soil health maps will be used for variable rate precise fertilizer application using UAVs and granular fertilizer applicators.

The multi-spectral imaging would help to identify areas of stress, disease, and pest infestation allowing for targeted and timely interventions. Under this mission, the activities in the Union Territory of J&K will be implemented by CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu.

Director CSIR-IIIM Jammu, Dr Zabeer Ahmed quoted by the Daily Excelsior as saying that the crops to be targeted in J&K are Paddy, Apple, Saffron and Gerbera, which will be subjected to analysis under the different verticals. “So far, survey, identification and registration of the field sites have been carried out.

Airborne hyper and multi-spectral imaging of the crops will be starting with the apple in March 2024 and would be periodically measured for better crops in the season,” he said.

The drone-based imaging and soil optix for measuring soil health in real-time will be a continuous process throughout the life cycle of the plant, he added.




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