Monday, May 25, 2015

Laser technology to level farm land saves water and energy

Dharini Parthasarathy at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Life in rural India evokes an image of a farmer levelling the land with an ox-drawn scraper. It’s one of the most basic preparations before sowing, as uneven land does not bode well for water absorption and farm productivity.

But for many farmers, animal power is being replaced by machines. A laser land leveller - a machine equipped with a laser-operated drag bucket - is much more effective and quicker at ensuring a flat, even surface. A flat surface means irrigation water reaches every part of the field with minimal waste from run-off or water-logging.

Mechanisation is good news for farmers, as climate change and variability pose unprecedented challenges to agriculture. The need of the hour is climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies that save on scarce resources like water and energy but increase yields and incomes.

A portfolio of climate-smart practices can equip farmers to adapt to changing weather patterns amid depleting natural resources. For instance, groundwater in north-western India has been declining at alarming rates due to the overuse of electric pumps, largely thanks to subsidised electricity, and inadequate recharge from erratic rainfall....

The Bhakra Main Channel in the Punjab, shot by Zerit, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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