Drones are a big hit in Haryana villages

Farmers in Haryana have gone beyond the use of drones, they adapted them to cover 50 percent more surface area with the same amount of pesticide while maintaining effectiveness. Although there is a time delay with this approach, it is offset by the reduction in water consumption. However, drone operators struggle with operational cost issues. Ever since I was chosen to use a drone to spray pesticides on sunflowers at a manufacturer’s demonstration a year and a half ago, I have hired a drone because it is more efficient. It also freed us from the stress of finding work to spray,” said Karan Singh, a young farmer from Bairsal in Karnal district, who is said to be the first to use drones in Haryana in 2021. 

 Haryana is a green revolution state and farmers have always wanted to experiment with new technology. Agricultural technology consultant Jitender Koshik said that with the proliferation of drones, the cost of spare parts needs to be reduced and capital investment monitored to ensure sustainable use as they need to be recycled every 4-5 years. Singh, who used manual labor in spraying, suffered damage to the crop. However, drones were effective in spraying nano urea and plant stimulants on sunflower plants, which provided an easier solution due to plant height.

  Singh spent ₹600 per acre on potatoes, while other farmers said the cost varied between ₹500 and ₹600 per acre for different crops.  Lokesh Kumar, a service provider from Kurukshetra district, who has 11 drones procured under the  Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme, said he has already hired 10 pilots and spends ₹20,000 a month to pay them. One drone can cover 10 hectares per day and can fetch ₹3,000 per day from vegetable crops and higher for other crops.  Besides,  five rounds of spraying will be done on the vegetable crop. Gurvinder Singh Goldy,  former sarpanch of Karnal’s Rajgarh village, has been advocating the use of drones ever since he tried it on his 35 acres last year. “The first advantage is that instead of spraying 100-200 liters, the drone only needs 10-20 liters of water. Secondly, the plant protection products do not fall on the ground, and the foliar sprays from above help the plants resist the attacks of pests”.

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