LASER LEVELING HYDRAULIC BLOCK
EHC provides the hydraulics solutions for Agriculture segment, Laser leveling is the process of smoothening the land surface ± 2 cm from its average elevation by using laser equipped drag buckets to achieve precision in land leveling. Precision land leveling involves altering the fields in such a way as to create a constant slope of 0 to 0.2%.
Laser land levelling, a simple operation to prepare the land before sowing, can reap massive returns such as increasing yields, saving water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Life in rural India evokes an image of a farmer levelling the land with an oxen-drawn scraper. It is one of the most basic and integral farm preparations before sowing. Undulated land does not bode well for water absorption and farm productivity.
But for many farmers animal power is being replaced by machines. A laser land leveller- a machine equipped with a laser guided drag bucket- is much more effective and quicker in ensuring a flat table-top like surface. An even land means irrigation water reaches every part of the field with minimal waste from run-off or water-logging.
While mechanisation is good news to farmers, climate change and climate variability pose unprecedented challenges to agriculture. We need climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies that save on scarce resources like water and energy but increase yields, incomes and reduce environmental footprints. When practised together, a portfolio of climate-smart practices can equip farmers to adapt to changing weather patterns amidst depleting natural resources. For instance, groundwater in north-western India has been declining at alarming rates because of the overuse of electric pumps, largely by subsidised electricity, and inadequate recharge from erratic rainfall. Recent studies predict that there would be at least a 10 percent increase in irrigation water demand with a 1 °C rise in temperature in arid and semi-arid regions of Asia. Irrigation is the biggest user of groundwater in north-western India and unless steps are taken to revert this trend, farmers are looking at a water-scarce future.
- Laser land levelling considerably lowers irrigation time for rice by 47-69 hours per hectare per season and for wheat by 10-12 hours per hecate per season.
- It increases yields by an average 8 percent for both crops.
- It saves electricity about 755 kWh per hectare per year for rice-wheat systems.
- It’s cost effective. As demand increases, service providers rent out equipment and farmers collectively share the costs.
- A study showed that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions from saving on energy, reducing cultivation time and increasing input efficiency.
- Higher yeilds means higher incomes for farmers.
HOW IT HELPS
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.
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