DHARMAPURI: The Dharmapuri Cooperative sugar mill in Palacode organised a workshop on Friday to educate farmers about the use of Aerial spraying of growth regulators, fertilizers and pesticides in sugar cane fields using drones and has taken steps to promote it. This move is aimed to tackle the rising labour cost, save time and educate farmers on the newest innovation in the market.
The Dharmapuri District Cooperative Sugar Mills Ltd in Palacode is the biggest sugar mill in Dharmapuri with the capacity to grind over 6,300 tonnes of sugarcane per month. Ten years ago, on average, at least 2.50 lakh tonnes were brought for grinding a year. Over the past few years the amount of sugar cane yield has declined drastically and this year, only 1.30 lakh tonnes of sugar cane were brought here. So to encourage farmers to increase sugar cane cultivation and to educate farmers about new agriculture innovations, the sugar mill officials demonstrated the use of drones and aerial spraying which is a cost-effective and time-saving process.
Commenting on the technology, Cane Development Officer, P Venugopal said, "It is the duty of the Dharmapuri Cooperative Sugar mill to introduce farmers to the latest innovations in sugar cane cultivation. As of right now, farmers have been using powdered urea and potash to regulate the growth of cane. This is a labour-intensive, time-consuming and expensive process. So as an alternative, we are introducing farmers to the aerial spraying method which uses IFFCOs liquid urea and potash to supplement the canes via the foliage."
"By using drones we spray liquid Urea and Potash from the air and these sprayed supplements land on top of the leaves and the cane will directly get its benefits. An acre of land could be completely provided with the necessary supplements in less than 20 mins. Moreover, the amount of supplements used is also reduced by more than half. We have provided a one-day workshop introducing the technology to farmers on Friday. Many farmers have expressed their interest in the technology and we will be holding another workshop soon," Venugopal added.
Commenting on the introduction of the technology, S Chinnasamy, a sugarcane farmer and stakeholder of the Palacode mill said, "Usually for spraying pesticides or fertilizer, we spend some Rs 1000 to Rs 1,500 per day. If such technologies are introduced, they would greatly aid us. The biggest advantage is that with sufficient training we can operate the drones ourselves and also save a lot of time."