Raising food, caring for the land.Yes, they are farmers who have washed in farm their blood, sweat and tears. For this special section, a new technology of laser land leveling has been introduced to level land and save water and energy. Now they don’t have to keep one eye on sky and another on soil for hope rather one machine that can resolve and bring smart farming.
Many amazing agriculture techniques have been introduced in recent times to re-design farming. Researchers call it ‘Smart Indian Agriculture’. Let’s not challenge the traditional methods. They have always been profound to be the most valuable and well-described techniques that farmers have used and are still using in most part of the country. Yet the change is inevitable. The sector always welcomes smart ‘technology’ for future. This time, it’s ‘Laser Guide Land Leveler’, newly introduced in the country for farming to level agriculture land, to save water and energy.
If we imagine a farmer in a field, it gives a visual of a farmer scrapping the farmland with the help of an ox tied up to a wooden frame leveling the land. Ah! The most scenic view almost is seen by every passer-by. It is indeed the most difficult task done by the farmers before sowing so that the uneven land does not absorb excessive water and affect farm productivity. This method has been one of the most traditional and painstaking.
Laser land leveling
Mechanisation has always proved to be a helpful and supportive aid for the farmers. And what can be better to hear for many farmers across the nation, animal support to be replaced by a machine. A laser land leveler in the fields is being used to optimise the water efficiency. Whereas in a flat surface, irrigation water reaches every part of the field with minimal waste from runoff or water-logging.
Many types of research have shown that an increase in the yield is due to proper land leveling which is approx 30 to 35 percent. Whereas the unevenness to the soil surface has a significant impact on the germination, stand and yield of crops. Farmers also recognise this and, therefore, devote considerable time and resources in leveling their field properly.
Considering this, Apogee Precision Lasers (APL), introduced a laser land leveler to provide a greater opportunity to use the much faster, direct seeding process to the farmers. Jasbir Singh, Director, APL, highlights that the traditional methods of leveling land are cumbersome, time-consuming as well as expensive whereas in laser land leveling less time is consumed and less water required for irrigation of fields. “Laser leveling in rice fields reduced irrigation time by 47-69 hours per hectare per season and improved yield by approximately 7 percent compared with traditionally leveled fields. For wheat, irrigation time was reduced by 10-12 hours per hectare every season and yield increased by 7-9 percent in laser leveled fields,” says Singh.
Briefly describing the working process, Adesh Kumar, associated with APL, states that the laser-controlled system requires a laser transmitter, a laser receiver and survey receiver, an electrical control panel and a twin hydraulic control valve. “The laser transmitter transmits a laser beam, which is intercepted by the laser receiver mounted on the leveling bucket, the control panel mounted on the valve, which will raise or lower the bucket,” says Kumar.
Laser land leveling is just one among numerous farming activities that contribute to sustainable agriculture. When combined with other resource-saving practices and technologies like solar irrigation, agri-forestry and proper residue management, the gains can be multiplied for each farmer and the community as a whole.
Another well-known agri-based company, Landking Agri Control India from Uttar Pradesh has also come up with a laser guided land leveler. The company plans to promote sustainable agriculture by introducing easy methods and technologies that can make numerous farming activities save time and money.
Joginder Singh, proprietor, Landking, states, “The techniques used in our laser land leveler helps to save 25-30 percent of water. It also helps increase yields by 10-15 percent due to even crop stands and full land utilisation. And exclusively helps in energy saving due to less requirement of water and tractor time for leveling and improves in nutrient use efficiencies.”
On a comparison level, Singh further explains that their laser land leveler has been designed using techniques and mechanism designed from international markets whereas others are locally designed.
The laser land leveler has been successful in approaching according to the demand to feed the nation. Animals and human cannot be over used to do ground works at the cost of health or not meeting the demands. “We have requested the governments to channelise the laser land leveler technology that it could reach the farmers,” adds Singh.
Live-farming using Laser Land Leveler
Many farmers in the northern belts have been using the latest technology in leveling the land. When asked them about the beneficial quotient, many replied in one single line ‘It is beneficial’.
Suman Mondal, 52, whose ancestor are in farming profession, in Miranpur describes the first-day field experience with laser land leveler. “Ploughing the field with laser leveler was like feeding your child in just two-minute maggi than going to forest for woods and then cooking food to feed them. It’s quick. Rather me finding the machine reliable, the machine is designed in such a way that it comforts you.”
A field inspector Ramakant Parida, IARI narrates that they experimented the technology with few farmers. “The farmers initially got confused how and when the laser can perform the activity without much hard-work,” says Parida.
“We had to explain to them that first and fore-mostly we have to use the rotary tillers that remove all surface residues. Thus, it conducts a topographic survey and establishes the main height of the field by taking the sum of all the readings and dividing by the number of readings taken. Though this might sound very technical to them yet it had been a success seminar educating the farmers with laser technology,” adds Parida.
In wet areas where there is a poor traction or a chance of bogging the tractor, care needs to be taken to fill the wet areas in a circular motion.
For the farmers in India to afford the laser land leveler can be a bit difficult task. On an average, the cost of one laser leveler is around Rs 4 lakhs. Therefore, in a proposal, a group of farmers, Farmers’ Interest Group (FIG) will be formed that will be assisted to purchase the equipment. An assistance of 75 percent of the cost is proposed on the equipment comprising of 1 laser leveler. The total cost of the project for 5 years shall be Rs 40 crore.
The State government shall provide Rs 30 crore as 75 percent assistance for 500 machines and the beneficiaries shall bear the balance cost of Rs 10 crore. These machines shall help in precision leveling of more than 2 lakh hectares of cropped area in the next 5 years.
“If the right amount of help and support is bear by the government and it reaches the farmers first handed, then no one can stop this nation producing and developing the utmost agriculturally. The right amount of proper planning in farming and introduction of farming equipment shall help our farmers to be the best in the world,” says Bikram Kishore Jena, Agriculture Activist.