Dr. Prabhudeva from Thammenahalli, Ramanagara, Karnataka, resides in Bengaluru and has a farm in the Ramanagara district. He has been using the Sat2Farm application since January 2022. The satellite data on crop health and soil moisture help him guide his farm manager and supervise his farm better. He was able to identify a malfunctioning drip irrigation filter without visiting his farm, just by looking at the abnormal soil moisture behaviour. The analytics given along with it have helped him optimise the irrigation water usage.
’ Sat2Farm app has helped several farmers save money by reducing crop consumption of fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides, and water.
The application has also enabled Somanadh Lingam to sustain his groundnut crop in Bhoyannapalli village, Telangana. The forewarning of pest/disease along with solutions provided in the app helped him identify and prepare to control the spread of disease and pest in the initial stage. “I could actually see the difference in the yield and quantity of chemicals used by me and my co-farmers. An early warning definitely helps in saving costs and also securing the yield,” he adds.
“The Krishi Mangal programme contributed significantly to our company’s growth,” shares Sat Kumar Tomer, Founder, Satyukt Analytics. The UI’s offerings and interaction with mentor Dinesh Pal helped Satyukt revamp their home page and do a complete overhaul of the app. The video impact documentary made it easier to explain what the app and company are about.
Through the Krishi Mangal program, Satyukt was able to onboard 9,400 farmers in one year with financial and logistical assistance. The pilot helped in making the app more farmer-friendly. After interacting with farmers, Satyukt revamped the app and added more features.
“We were able to get four partners who helped in the onboarding of farmers to the app. Bioprime, Natura Crop Care, Crosslinks, and eFresh were the channel partners who collaborated with us,” adds Sat Kumar.
Satyukt signed a Memorandum of Understanding with field partners for the pilot, which helped in bringing in more farmers from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal.
Creating impact at the ground level
A few companies use IoT sensors and drones to provide insights into a farm. But just to capture local information, these are expensive to install and do not provide historical data for predictive modelling. Most of the remote sensing companies use only optical/thermal satellite data, and these are susceptible to cloud cover. This is primarily because the presence of clouds prevents optical satellite imaging systems from obtaining useful Earth observation information and negatively affects the processing and application of optical satellite images. Radar-based sensors are capable of penetrating the clouds to provide information about the earth’s surface but these are not entirely reliable as their output is often riddled with low accuracy issues and bad resolution.
To overcome the existing problems of expensive IoT sensors, drones and lack of historical data for predictive modelling, Satyukt considered available satellite constellations and has developed scalable algorithms that combine multi-satellite data. The solutions are built using high-resolution real-time/historical data to provide crop advisories at a farm scale. The solutions are affordable to small and marginal farmers, minimise the agri-input costs, and maximise the crop yield production effectively.
Talking about how Satyukt is breaking all barriers, Sat Kumar shares, “We have validated results of algorithms in most parts of India, USA, UK, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. Satyukt has expertise in microwave satellite data and is equipped to provide all-weather surface/rootzone soil moisture and other crop advisories.”
Impacting more lives
With the support of market research and knowledge of the rural population, Satyukt was able to expand its presence in the country.
The inefficient use of groundwater resources is a key contributor to the depletion of groundwater supplies. Satyukt’s dynamic farm-specific irrigation advisories can save up to 40 percent water and increase crop water productivity. Insights to optimise water usage and assess drought conditions are crucial to farmers for handling weather fluctuations.
“We solicited the expertise of an expert to resolve the challenges that end-users were experiencing. We have also provided farmers with a customised crop calendar that allowed them to use proper fertiliser dose, seed rate, and seed treatment to prevent crop loss from pests and diseases,” says Sat Kumar while talking about the 14-day weather forecast that helps farmers plan their crop sowing and harvesting, reducing crop loss due to rain and other factors.
Farmers have been able to check crop health without having to visit the farms, thanks to satellite data solutions that help tackle poor crop yield and assess crop health variability within a farm. Farmers who are forewarned about pests and diseases can manage the infection at an early stage and prevent the disease/pest from spreading.
Navigating challenges prior to the Krishi Mangal Pilot
“Unavoidable circumstances like the risk of COVID-19 blocked us in reaching out to farmers. Field implementation coordinators were not available in all of the pilot’s locations. So, we could onboard only a limited number of farmers as they had to adjust to new technology,” shares Sat Kumar.
Restrictions imposed due to the pandemic during the pilot program also hampered onboarding.
The affordable subscription-based per acre model allows small and marginal farmers to receive vital information including early indicators of crop stress, optimum harvesting and watering schedule, and planning the cultivation for next season. Satyukt’s product is helping farmers in effective crop monitoring, potentially leading to 20 to 30 percent monetary savings over a season.
The freemium pricing model and price varies from nil to Re 1 per acre per day, which allows wide-scale adoption of Satyukt’s products for small and marginal farmers. The information is available in many Indian languages and enables easy access. Notifications and feedback are also available in audio as many (especially small and marginal) farmers cannot read or write.
“We offer a freemium version of our products to reach out to different geographies, which we anticipate will empower farm hands to practise precision agriculture,” adds Sat Kumar.
The long-term goal of Satyukt is to use the models they have developed using remote sensing to offer crop advisories on a farm scale around the globe.