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8th Asian Conference at PAU, Ludhiana, Punjab

Jan 01, 1970

The ‘8th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture’ in collaboration with the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE) was organized at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana from October 14-17, 2019. The four day conference was attended by about 300 delegates from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, China, USA, Europe, Canada, Russia and representatives from industry as well as farmers from across the country. The conference which is being held in India at PAU for the first time is designed to be collaborative with capacity-building on potential adoption of Precision Agriculture technologies in the Asian-Australasian region and around the world.

In his inaugural address, the Chief Guest, Professor Raj Khosla, Colorado State University Professor and Founding President of International Society of Precision agriculture (ISPA) drew attention towards the unprecedented human capacity to produce, consume and waste food which would lead to food shortages in the near future. In this regard he dwelled on the need for a shift in agricultural practices towards precision farming so as to conserve the environment. He shared his vision of developing Scale Independent Precision Agriculture (SIPA) through discussions during the conference, while outlining how the 5Rs in precision farming; right time, right place, right amount and right manner contribute towards successful implementation of the revolutionary technique.

Professor James Lowenberg- DeBoer, President, International Society of Agricultural Engineers briefed about the organizations and the activities undertaken from time to time. He said the society is focused towards precision agriculture and conducts conferences in different parts of the world from time to time.

Dr Indra Mani, President, Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers called for team work among scientists, industry, corporates and policy makers for taking precision farming to the fields of Indian farmers. This complimentary approach is not just important in the wake of the changing agricultural landscape, it is key to increasing farm productivity and sustainability, he stressed.

Dr Gajendra Singh, Patron, Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers and Former DDG (Engg), ICAR applauded the efforts of manufacturers of farm machinery who are responsible for taking the technology to the fields of farmers and take real time feedback from them.

He discussed the importance of time window for seeding, irrigation, field monitoring and harvest in making farming more profitable, while stressing on the right amount and quality of agricultural inputs. All three, he informed are location and commodity specific. “The objective of the conference is to brain storm the use of technology like big data, GPS, drones, machine learning and robots to make farming sustainable and profitable for the farmers”, Dr Singh remarked.

PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr B.S. Dhillon, Padam Shri awardee, while highlighting the role of PAU in green revolution briefed about the University’s contribution in developing 45% of the farm machinery currently in use across the country. Of special mention is the laser land leveler that helps save water, happy seeder, PAU Super SMS, lucky seed drill developed towards effective management of paddy stubble. He dwelled on the utility of precision farming to increase productivity, profit and sustainable ecosystem. He further hailed it for helping conserve water, improving soil health, delivery of agrochemicals and predicting weather disturbances. Dr Dhillon also pointed towards addressing the challenges involved in adoption of precision farming by farmers due to small field size. He said the machines should be cost effective, keeping in mind cultural aspects with complete technical support to farmers for carrying out pilot studies, along with sensitizing farmers about pitfalls of unregulated inputs.

Earlier the dignitaries released the conference souvenir and were felicitated by the Vice Chancellor, PAU, Dr Dhillon. The conference began by a formal welcome delivered by Dr N.S. Bains, Director of Research, PAU. Dr Manjit Singh, Head Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering and Organizing Secretary, ACPA, 2019 proposed the vote of thanks.

Apart from technical sessions on Disruption Technologies in Precision Agriculture, Digital Agriculture through Industry Revolution, technological Interventions for Paddy straw Management, Advanced Machinery for Precision agriculture: A Developing Country Perspective, the Conference will also include field trips to view practical examples of ongoing precision agriculture in India. Presentations from keynote presenters invited from different counties include: A world view, diversity and advancement, protected cultivation, automation, hands-free robot fields, proximal and remote crop sensing. It will cover a range of needs of farmers and growers to be informed of the latest developments and application of precision agriculture. This conference offers unique ways to grow the network of people interested in practical adaptation of precision agriculture technologies in India, Asia and beyond.

Field demonstrations were also conducted on the day displaying technologies for precision and conservation farming developed and under research in the University. Prof. Gajendra Singh, Patron of ISAE and other delegates witnessed and appreciated the field demonstrations displayed. The Chief Guest of the Valedictory function was Dr. Nicolas Trembley. Dr.Gajendra Singh, Patron ISAE, Dr.Navtej Singh Bains, Director of Research, PAU Ludhiana, Dr. Ashok Kumar, Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology and delegates from different countries were present in the function.

Dr. Manjeet Singh, Organising Secretary of the conference and Head, Department of Farm Machinery & Power Engineering, PAU Ludhiana, in his brief report on 8ACPA said that a total of around 300 delegates from 11 countries namely, USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, China, Japan, Egypt, Malaysia, Israel, Nigeria etc. including India attended the Conference. During the Conference, there were 15 key note presentations by the speakers coming from all parts of the world and 12 oral sessions, including one special session on crop residue management. There were total 54 e-poster presentations were made by the students and faculty from different universities. There was also one special session for industry organized during the Conference. The industry representatives shared their products and various initiatives undertaken in the field of precision farming and automation. During the function, best e-poster award also distributed to the presenters.

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