Ghanshyam T. Patle
College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, CAU, Ranipool, Gangtok, Sikkim, India
Agriculture has played a significant role in the socio-economic growth and welfare of north eastern hill region of India. The rise in globalization, urbanization and population has postulated many challenges in the agricultural sector. Nowadays, water shortage is becoming one of the biggest problems in the world. The major challenges involve a decrease in the consumption of water resources and an increase in the quality and quantity of food. In India, there is uneven biological diversity, some parts experience droughts while the other parts flood, so there is always a scarcity of water available for irrigation. Farmers in rural areas are severely affected by this condition. Thus, advancement in agricultural monitoring can benefit in increasing yield, efficiency, capability and performance in the agricultural field. Considering the several advantages emerging from the micro irrigation technology, especially, water saving, increase in yield and quality produce and many more, drip irrigation technology is being adopted by the farmers of the hilly states of NEH region. The sensor-based automated drip irrigation system not only provides comfort and ease of operation but also saves precious time, water and energy with increased efficiency. This paper presents the development of a soil moisture sensor-based automatic drip irrigation system for small landholders of NEH region. Capacitive soil moisture sensors were used for soil moisture monitoring in the field. The system includes three nodes namely a supervisory node, a sensor node and an actuator node. Supervisory node is the main heart of the system which decides when to water the crops. The actuator node comprises of solenoid valve that turns ON/OFF according to the decision made by the Supervisory node. The performance of the system was evaluated at an experimental greenhouse field of CAEPHT, Sikkim, India. The system allowed to application of an optimal amount of irrigation all over the greenhouse.