CHAMPIONS OF CIAT

Electronic scarecrows that monitor crops

Satoshi Ogawa and Manabu Ishitani wanted to find a way to simultaneously monitor climatic conditions and crop performance in real-time. So Ogawa, a researcher at CIAT’s biotechnology lab, and Ishitani, a molecular biologist and the lab’s leader, acquired e-kahashi, a Japanese technology that they deployed in CIAT’s experimental rice fields.

E-kakashi, which means “electronic scarecrow,” is used to monitor plant growth, collect other plant data such as appearance  of disease, and analyze the conditions of soil and weather. The information allows food producers make quick, intelligent and accurate decisions about managing their farms based on this immediately available data.

The technology, developed by PS Solutions Corp., collects environmental information, analyzes it in the cloud and provides feedback with easy-to-understand visualizations of results. E-kakashi analyses are sent to users using the electronic crop navigation tool “ek-Navi.”

This new technology allows information to be online or to reach a cell phone, so that farmers can access it no matter where they are, said Ogawa. This device provides a concrete application of the Internet of Things (IoT) or the ability to connect everyday objects to the Internet and to each other.

Satoshi Ogawa

Científico del CIAT

E-kakashi helps monitor irrigation and fertilization. It also helps reduce labor management and implement precision crop management.

In the future, through the collection of reliable data in different regions of Colombia and promoting the development of the technology, e-kakashi seeks to promote investment and stimulate agriculture through support from the government, the Colombian rice-growers federation (Fedearroz) and farmers.

Video: Universidad del Valle 

As a complement to this promising new technology for monitoring crops, the researchers will focus their efforts to develop similar technologies to measure greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.  

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