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ICAR- National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bengaluru has been making efforts to develop novel and precise delivery mechanisms for biopesticides for the effective management of insect pests and diseases. ICAR-NBAIR has been selected as one of the ICAR Institutes for ‘Drone technology demonstration’ under the Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization to popularize the Agri-drone among farming communities. ICAR-NBAIR conducted about 15 biopesticides spraying demonstrations in three clusters (5 demonstrations/cluster) using oil-based formulations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in different crops such as coconut, brinjal, mango, sugarcane, areca nut, and rice to create farmers’ awareness and promotion of drone technology especially in crop protection.

The demonstration highlighted government subsidy schemes for agri-drone procurement to various target groups. Drone technology effectively uses precision spraying of pesticides, reducing chemical usage and application costs, and enables real-time monitoring of pests, diseases, and weeds, enabling timely management strategies. Drone-based pesticide spraying is safer for farmers, and more convenient for inaccessible cropping systems, uneven terrain, and taller crops like coconut and arecanut. It offers higher work efficiency (7-8 minutes/acre) compared to manual spraying, making it a more efficient method.

Manual spraying leads to non-uniform biopesticide application, poor penetration of active ingredients into the dense canopy, and low application efficiency leading to inadequate control of pests and diseases. Therefore, ICAR-NBAIR is working on the development of standard operating procedures for biopesticide applications through dosages, efficacy on target insect pests, drift effect, and particle size.  The use of biopesticides through drones has led to a greater bio-suppression of pests.

About 500 progressive farmers attended the demonstration programme.

(Source: ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Resources, Bengaluru)

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