Space technology-based spectral library for Uma rice developed

A spectral library for Uma rice, a popular indigenous rice variety in Kerala, has been successfully developed by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies and the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) using space technology. The team, led by Girish Gopinath of Kufos, utilized remote sensing to analyze the spectral signature of Uma at different growth stages and identified spectra that indicate water stress conditions. This space technology-based spectrum has the potential to revolutionize the monitoring of Uma rice cultivation, reducing the need for extensive fieldwork, labor, and costs.

The counterpart team of scientists from CWRDM, led by U Surendran, also contributed to the study titled “Development of Spectral Library for Hyperspectral Data with Special Emphasis on Paddy.” The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment funded the study with a grant of ₹83.5 lakh.

Uma rice, also known as ‘unda rice,’ is characterized by its round shape and sticky texture. It was released from the Mancompu research station of Kerala Agricultural University in 1998 and has since become the most commonly grown variety in Kerala. Due to its high yield and stress tolerance, Uma rice has been preferred in Kuttanad and holds a special place in Kerala’s culinary landscape.

Despite the challenges posed by climate change and extreme events in paddy cultivation in Kerala, Uma rice remains a staple. The newly developed spectral library facilitates precise assessments of the spatial distribution of the Uma variety in specific locations, understanding its current growth stage, and evaluating influences of water or nutrient stress. Additionally, it enables yield estimations through the utilization of remote-sensing images.

This technological advancement brings significant benefits to rice cultivation in Kerala, eliminating the need for extensive fieldwork and reducing costs. It marks a milestone in the use of space technology for agricultural monitoring and showcases the potential for further advancements in this field.

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