A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur has built a self-propelled boom-type sprayer, an energy-efficient pest controlling device operated using solar energy for smaller agricultural tracts owned by marginal farmers. The semi-automated device is aimed at increasing field capacity and uniformity in liquid spraying, also to reduce drudgery to the operator and dependency on fossil fuels for carrying out spraying in cropped areas.
"The system comprises a propelling unit fitted with a liquid storage tank, a DC motor operated pump to pressurise the liquid to be sprayed. Multiple numbers of spray nozzles are mounted on a boom fitted to the front of the machine to cover a width of 1.5m at a time, operating using solar energy at a speed of 2km/hr. with a field efficiency of 81pc thus saving time, human involvement and chemicals.
An operator is required to control the movement of the spraying unit. A simple arrangement has been provided to vary the height of spraying (i.e., nozzle height from the ground) to carryout spraying for different heights of crops. Solar panels are mounted on top of the machine to provide continuous power supply during operation through the Maximum Power Point Tracker controller and it also provides shade to the operator during spraying in the field.
Prevention of pests and diseases during different growth stages of crops is an important process to increase its yield. For larger tracts of farmlands, tractor mounted sprayers are used, while manually operated knapsack sprayer is used for smaller tracts.