A session on “Sensors and Sensing for Precision Agriculture” was organized under “Precision Agriculture” by ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute with total participation of 1019 including 38 panellists on 05th October 2020, as part of the Vaishwik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit 2020. This is a Government of India initiative to bring together the thought process, practices, R&D culture of Overseas and Indian scientists/academicians through a series of structured deliberations and constructive dialogue, and develop a road map for translational research/academic culture for tangible output and strengthening the S&T base for providing the impetus to endeavour of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
A total of 18 verticals have been identified for deliberation of which “Agro-economy and Food Security” deals directly with agriculture with several horizontals. The horizontal on “Precision Agriculture” aims at discussing recent advances in the field on sensors, remote sensing, deep learning, artificial intelligence and IoT for monitoring and quantification of soil, plant and environment to enhance farm productivity with increased input use efficiency and environmental sustainability. Dr. Rabi N. Sahoo, ICAR-IARI was Session Coordinator. Prof. M. Udayakumar, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru and Dr Alol Sikka, India Water Management Institute, New Delhi were chairs for different themes and Dr Anil Rai, ADG ICT, ICAR was the co-chair of the session.
Dr C. Viswanathan, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India and NRI speaker Prof. Sindhuja Sankaran, Washington State University, USA made presentations on the Indian and US scenario on high throughput sensor-based plant phenotyping for development of resource efficient, climate smart and high yielding cultivars, which is fundamental for smart agriculture. Prof. Uday B Desai, IIT Hyderabad and Prof. Prasant Mohapatra, University of California, USA deliberated on wireless sensor network and IoT technologies and potential use in precision agriculture. Dr Rabi N Sahoo, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India and Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar, ICARDA-CGIAR and non-resident speakers, Prof. Dharmendra Saraswat, Purdue University, USA, Prof. Rajiv Khosla, Colorado State University, USA and Dr. Lav R. Khot, Washington State University, USA deliberated on state of the art technologies on sensors and sensing technologies including drone remote sensing for assessing and monitoring for soil and crop health for precision agriculture.
Each presentation was followed by panel discussion with eminent panellists and research gaps identified are (1) Development of indigenous low cost sensors with integrated platforms, robotics, IoTs and WSN for high throughput field phenotyping and soil and crop health monitoring and management, (2) Big data analytics and modelling for sensor based early detection of stresses, discrimination and near real time detection and management (3) Standardized protocols for UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) based imaging using different sensors, inter sensor calibration and data analytics for near real time crop condition monitoring and management and (4) Development of affordable scale neutral precision agricultural technologies suitable to ecosystem of Indian agriculture. Keeping in view these gaps, a specific objective driven collaboration will be proposed with the universities of USA, namely Washington State University, University of California, Perdue University, University of Colorado, USA for further excelling in education and research and capacity building.