Farming in developing countries is majorly dependent on the traditional knowledge of farmers, with unscientific agricultural practices commonly implemented, leading to low productivity and degradation of resources. Moreover, mechanization has not been integral to farming, and thus managing a farm is a time consuming and labour intensive process. Consequently, precision agriculture (PA) offers great opportunities for improvement. Using geographic information and communication technology (Geo-ICTs) principles, PA offers the opportunity for a farmer to apply the right amount of treatment at the right time and at the right location on the farm. However, in order to collect timely high-resolution reliable data, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based sensing and on-farm computer-based image/data interpretation are required. These high-resolution images can give detailed information about the soil and crop condition, which can be used for farm management purposes. Leaf area index, normalized difference vegetation index, photochemical reflectance index, crop water stress index and other such vegetation indices can provide important information on crop health. Temporal changes in these indices can give vital information about changes in health and canopy structure of the crop over time, which can be related to various stress present in the crop. Application of machine learning techniques (where the expertise of field researcher is also considered as prior information) has shown considerable improvement in results. This on-farm human-computer interaction has the capability to provide a scientific decision support system for better farm management.
My research is focussed on precision agriculture. I use drones to collect hyperspectral, multispectral and RGB images/data. parallelly I also collect ground truth information and then using physical and machine learning-based crop model I find out those areas which are stressed and might lead to low yield in the farm.
My research story can be found at http://www.iitbmonash.org/news/precision-agriculture-the-future-of-farming/