Laser Based Precise Land Levelling System
Less rainfall, degrading soil health and declining water table and therefore growing dryness of the ground are the major concerns for keeping the growth in a sustainable agriculture. Thus proper emphasis is being given on the management of irrigation water usage for adequate growth of agriculture. Generally, most of the farmers working in paddy and corn believe that their field were well levelled and do not need further levelling. But when showing closer the finding will be that the fields are not adequately levelled. They need to be reworked.
The enhancement of water use efficiency and farm productivity at field level is one of the best options to redress the problem of declining water level in the state. The planner and policy maker are properly informed and motivated to develop strategies and programs for efficient utilization of available water resources. Laser Land levelling is one such important technology for using water efficiently as it reduces irrigation time and enhances productivity not only of water but also of other non-water farm inputs. Results in technologically advanced countries have indicated that saves water to the tune of 25-30% and time by 30% and also improves the productivity by 10-15%. It has also been observed that with Laser Land Levelling 2-3% effective cropped area in case of flat fields and even more in ridge sown fields become available for cultivation of crops, as the number of bunds and irrigation channels get reduced considerably.
How Laser levelling helps Farmers:
Irrigation time: Laser-levelling in rice fields reduced irrigation time by 47-69 hours per hectare per season and improved yield by approximately 7 percent compared with traditionally levelled fields. In wheat, irrigation time was reduced by 10-12 hours per hectare every season and yield increased by 7-9 percent in laser levelled fields.
Food security: Based on analysis from the data, the study computes that if 50 percent of the area under rice-wheat systems in Haryana and Punjab states were laser levelled, it would result in an additional production of 699 million kg of rice and 987 million kg of wheat which amounts to USD 385 million a year extra. Not only does this translate to higher incomes for farmers but it also increases food security of the region given that the Indo-Gangetic Plains are a bread basket and rice bowl in South Asia.
Energy: Less time spent on irrigation means less energy spent on irrigation. The study shows that laser land levelling saves electricity amounting to about 755 kWh per hectare per year for rice-wheat systems.
Costs: Another perception that the study challenges is that only large-holder or rich farmers can afford and benefit from laser-levellers. In fact, laser land levelling is scale neutral and not particularly biased towards large-holdings. It is common for many small-holder farmers to rent the equipment or form a cooperative to share the costs. The rental cost is about USD10 for an hour. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to laser level a hectare of land and the farmers need to do it once in 3 years.
Water: Laser land levelling is essentially a water-saving technology as it uses scarce groundwater optimally by ensuring even coverage. Compared to traditionally levelled land, a laser levelled farm minimises run-off and water-logging ensuring that farmers use just as much water they need in the best possible way.
Less greenhouse gas emissions: A related study (Jat et al 2015) reported that use of laser land leveller over traditional land levellers reduces emission of greenhouse gases through decreased water pumping time, decreased cultivation time and better use of fertilizers.
Income: The increased yields and the money saved on water and energy means farmers benefited by an additional USD 143.5 per hectare a year from growing rice and wheat.