Information Intensive Sugarcane Farming in Thailand - Role of Space and Spatial Technologies
Mitr Phol Sugarcane Research Centre,
Research and Development Director
Mitr Phol Sugarcane Research Centre
Sustainability of sugar industry lies in the continuous and optimum supply of raw material from the contract farmers. Monitoring the field operations from cane supply agreement to delivering cane and improving productivity and profitability are becoming key functions for survival of sugar business. Thus accurate and timely farm information is vital. Recent development in satellite technology has shown potential applications to farming community. The key technologies involved are remote sensing, GIS and GPS. Sugarcane information and management system (SIMS) was initiated to map the sugarcane farms, land use and road network of Mitr Phol Sugar factory area (50,000 ha) in Phukieo at 1:12,500 scale using IRS-P6 satellite imagery. The objectives of the program were to map and estimate cane area at parcel level, demarcate potential area for cane, monitoring cane growth and improving productivity. The ownership and field data were linked with map in ArcGIS 8.3 program. In addition, nutrient status of sugarcane soils was mapped from the soil analysis at 1 km grid sampling. Weather network information from sixteen stations was also brought into GIS system. Creating farm level information system is the first step in information intensive farming. This paper describes the details of potential applications to millers and farmers for planning, monitoring and improving productivity and coupled with environmental protection. As GIS being powerful decision making tool, the current spatial layers were analyzed in ArcGIS program to deliver useful information for farm development. Examples are: suitable area mapping, location specific variety recommendation, fertilizer recommendation, etc. Further plans are scheduled in different phases to map yield gap, determine limiting factors of production and implement farm specific management strategies.