Precision Agriculture: A new way to maximise the profit in Pomegranate farming
Traditional farming and its constraints
It was early morning in March first week when Mr. Hemant went to his pomegranate farm and got very sad to see the condition on the farm. Some trees were showing excess water symptoms, some were under water stress while others had bacterial blight and wilt symptoms. He remained dependent on the practices of his fellow farmers around his region to guide him on his crop management. The erratic rainfall made it even worse. The scheduled morning irrigation and instantaneous afternoon rainfall at regular intervals made his efforts go in vain. He started his pomegranate orchard after many ups and downs he faced while growing other crops. He had big hopes for the future with his pomegranate plantation but due to limited/modest experience in pomegranate farming, he wasn’t very confident about farm management and expected output. Mr. Hemant started visiting nearby farms for gaining knowledge from other farmers and by approaching some consultants for effective farm management techniques. But that created more chaos than helping him. The orchard had reached the flowering stage already and the fruit setting stage was going on. He had observed different diseases and pests which were quite different from his previous cropping experience.
Mr. Hemant’s dilemma continued until he heard about the Fasal and its precision agriculture technology that he decided to adopt this technology. Till now he had been reading and watching about precision technology on the TV and news media only, but now he wanted to practice it on a daily basis.
New hope for farming
The Fasal IoT system (Fasal Sense) is now deployed on Mr. Hemant’s farm and he is able to get real-time actionable intelligence about his farm through the Fasal app. Now, all his farm-level decision making is based on that. When the entire nation was suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, this new technology at his farm made Mr. Hemant informed and confident of his crop yield.
Real-time irrigation intelligence
Mr. Hemant is very happy and satisfied to see the real-time soil moisture level in his farm and with help of Fasal irrigation advisory, he is now able to understand and interpret how the soil moisture is depleting and how and when to irrigate going forward. Timely and precise irrigation was a major issue on his farm before Fasal installation. Fasal very well understands microclimate, evapotranspiration, soil, crop, and crop-stage water requirements, and based on all the real-time data, it further advises to maintain suitable soil moisture levels in soil, notifies about the irrigation volume and duration for the application at different crop stages. During the span of four months, Mr. Hemant successfully saved 40% on irrigation and at the same time, he also avoided the risk of wilt and root borne diseases, maintaining good fruit quality.
Real-time microclimatic intelligence
Mr. Hemant is spending more time with family than before as he can monitor the microclimatic data of his farm from his Fasal app. Fasal app provides real-time temperature, humidity, leaf wetness, soil moisture, soil temperature, rainfall, and wind speed parameters. Due to the pandemic, he was not able to frequently visit the farm and interact with working staff but the Fasal app brought some relief to his day to day routine work. Currently, he is able to make a proper harvest plan for the week. By observing the Fasal forecasting data, he is able to fix the timing of harvest and other subsequent field operations.
Disease and Pest forewarning
Bacterial blight, wilt, and anthracnose are critical diseases for pomegranate at different crop stages. These diseases are closely related to microclimate changes. Fasal has developed dynamic models of these diseases by tracking pathogen growth and their development, and infection level in the crop and continuously notifying the farmer through the app. Similarly, Fasal also sends the notification alerts on thrips, mites, and aphids which are dangerous pests that occur during flowering and early fruit setting stages. Within a period of four months, Mr. Hemant has succeeded in saving around 50% spray which helped him to reduce the cost of cultivation and at the same time, improves the quality of fruits. The health of trees was also maintained. The harvesting is in progress and he is now able to harvest excellent quality fruits compared to previous harvests. This was a big achievement for him as well as a proud moment for the whole Fasal team.
Stage wise physiology
Fasal tracks the stage wise physiology, microclimate interactions of the plants in each stage, and provides the best recommendations for its management. Crop stages like pruning, flowering, fruit set, fruit development, and ripening have their own physiology and show different responses to the microclimate. Fasal tracks these responses through VPD, GDD, and other factors, and quantifies the stress of each stage and finds the possible interventions that can be planned for better growth, proper flowering, and subsequent fruiting. Mr. Hemant is able to understand the crop at the physiological level through continuous interactions with the Fasal team and guidelines.
Fruit development and ripening
Soil moisture level plays a very crucial role in fruit development for proper size and texture. Regulated deficit irrigation is a very important practice for achieving better quality fruits by inducing the formation of metabolites like phenolics, amino acids, and sugars. So precise controlling of fruit development and ripening process requires the skill to monitor precise soil moisture and then provide irrigation. By tracking of stage-wise physiology and fruit development process, Fasal provides precise advisories due to which Mr. Hemant is able to produce excellent quality fruits. Fasal is currently working on different horticultural crops like wine and table grapes, mango, coffee, citrus, apple, and vegetables like chilli, tomato, capsicum, and gourds.