Invited Speaker
Dr. Surendran Udayar Pillai

Dr. Surendran Udayar Pillai

Senior Scientist & Head, Land and Water Management Research Group, Centre for Water Resource Management (CWRDM), India
Speech Title: Precision agriculture using HYDRUS based Drip irrigationschedulingand fertigation for improving water productivity and sustainable crop production

Abstract: Different nutrient application levels on okra's (Abelmoschusesculentus) growth and yield under drip fertigationwas evaluated with an field experiment. Results showed that drip fertigation resulted in an increase in okra’s yield by 142% compared to surface flood (channel) irrigation and that this increase was statistically significant.An increase in nutrient applications above a recommended dose of fertilizers also significantly improved the yield by up to 100%. TheHYDRUS model was calibrated and validated using the experimental data and statistical tools such as RMSE, AE, CV, and R2. The volumetric soil water contents calculated using the HYDRUS model showed a good match with values measured at different horizontal and vertical distances from theemitter. The results also confirmed that soil water contents under drip irrigation were uniformly distributed within the root zone (i.e., 45 cm both vertically and horizontally from the plants). However, soil water contents were relatively low and showed larger variations within the plants' root zone under flood irrigation. Irrigation scheduling was simulated for the demonstration plots using the calibrated HYDRUS model for their respective soil conditions and validated with field observed soil water contents. An application of nutrients through drip fertigation improved crop yields in all demonstration plots, and an increase in yield over the control (flood irrigation) was noticed.The benefit-cost ratio of drip fertigation for demonstration plots ranged from 2.05 to 3.50 for selected crops.Our study highlights that the adoption of drip fertigation with proper irrigation and nutrient scheduling (evaluated using HYDRUS) increases selected crop productivity and ensures higher efficiency of water, nutrients, soil fertility, environment sustainability, and profitable farming in Kerala.

Biography: Dr. U Surendran, is a Senior Scientist and Head, Land and Water Management Research Group, of Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), having more than fifteen years of professional research experience in agricultural water management, Precision Farming with drip fertigation, crop simulation modelling, nutrient budgeting, salinity management and soil fertility management as main components. He has developed irrigation requirement package for crops such as coconut, pepper, arecanut and vegetables and few of them has been accepted as a technology by Kerala Agricultural University for dissemination to farmers. Currently he is focusing on climate change impact assessment on agricultural crops, and identifying the best management practices for improving the crop productivity and profitability to the farmers. He has more than 70 peer reviewed research articles and 5 Books with a Scopus h-index of 12. Currently serves as handling Editor in Scientific Reports- Nature Publishing Group and Associate Editor / Editorial Board member in journals like agricultural water management, Journal of Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences, International Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and also reviewer of different scientific journals of Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Nature Publishing group. Besides, he has a good know- how and field experience on drought management, problem soil management micro irrigations systems and has closely monitored about 4000 acres (for sugarcane, Coconut, vegetables etc) with drip, sprinkler and low cost drip irrigation techniques, starting from design, lay out, fertigation scheduling and maintenance of the system in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.