Marigold is commonly grown in India since it is a short duration crop with low investment, easy adaptability and its extensive use for ornamental purposes.
Marigold farmers face a number of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases in its cultivation. Among the traditional crops grown for loose flowers in India, the largest area is under marigold and this urges the need to resolve issues faced by marigold farmers. This requires making use of a wide variety of agrochemicals, which needs to be applied methodically. Overuse of agrochemicals generally have adverse effects on crop yield and hence requires precision in quantity & application-method depending on crop age for the best efficiency.
A study on the effectiveness of agrochemical spray using drones with controlled flow rate and precise droplet delivery is presented here. The solution sprayed was a highly concentrated mixture of multiple agrochemicals such as fungicides, insecticide and plant nutrients in lab verified combination and quantities.
The study looked at the ability of the drone as an alternative to the conventional knapsack-based application methods. The following key parameters were evaluated in this study:
Experiments were conducted in a 4 acres farm. Half of the farm was treated with the drone-based spray and remaining were sprayed by knapsack/power sprayers. A mixture of six agrochemical & plant nutrients were used in this study. The comparative outcome is tabulated below:
|Sl.No||Parameters||Manual Spray||Drone Spray|
|1||Agrochemical mixture compatibility||At par|
|2||Water Usage||200 ltr/acre||8 ltr/acre|
|6||Time Efficiency (time/acre)||5 mins||60 mins|
The highly concentrated drone spray did not cause any harm to the crop. It was seen that the fresh flower yields were approximately 20% more as compared to conventionally sprayed plot. This was primarily due to the uniform spray with consistent fine droplets resulting in better absorption of nutrients.
The GA agriculture spray drone demonstrated overall much better spray-efficiency and yield when compared to conventional knapsack-based system. This sustainable technology has huge potential in increasing farmer’s income.