On farm benefits of sensors

Studies relating to how this technology can bring about on farm benefits, have largely been confined to various technical facets such as crop extent to which these methods of remote sensing and sensors were applied, what are the different kinds of crops which saw increased yields, predicting of yields, and detection of stress on crops.

More importantly, there has been a lack of information about how the sensors were used, and how crops are being managed. All these make it impossible to ascertain the right amount of on farm benefits brought by remote sensing. Usually the change of yield and inputs have been cited as the result of remote sensing application.

Though the studies have not revealed the monetary values in terms of these inputs and yields, it is possible to calculate such details. You only have to go through the national averages of the yield, and determine the cost accordingly. It is clearly assumed that with the adoption of these methods and remote sensing in particular, manual scouting for weeds, pests etc. have declined. This is not so.

Though there are a number of farms using remote sensing throughout the world for agriculture, there are many small time farms as well, who are able to understand the soil characteristics through manual scouting, and apply variable inputs to the fields to get the optimum results in yields.

In such cases the manual scouting is done through the use of GPS. Thus while arriving at the actual yields after implementing the new technologies, the cost is arrived after deducting the cost incurred on devices like remote sensing, aerial photography etc.

The correct figure of profitability through RS can be arrived only by comparing the cost and yield with manual scouting, and the cost vs. yield by adopting sensors and remote sensing. Therefore remote sensing as a profitable part of agriculture must be properly debated before adopting it.

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