Increasing water shortages have compelled the concerned officials for developing strategies for efficient utilization of available water resources. Enhancement of water productivity at farm level is the most appropriate solution to redress water scarcity. Precision land leveling (PLL) is a mechanical process of grading and smoothing the land to a precise and uniform plane surface at grade or no grade (zero slope) with variation of less than ±20 mm (2cm). Generally, traditional method is used for PLL that involves earth movement with bucket type soil scrapers and tractor mounted rear blades but it is very laborious and too expensive to finish the land surface to exact grade.
Technology (LASER Land Leveling)
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER) Land Leveling is the best option for improving water productivity through minimizing water application losses. Use of LASER technology in the precision land leveling was introduced in the Punjab during 1985 through on farm water management (OFWM) program. It has proved to be a highly efficient tool for achieving a high degree of precision for carrying out PLL operations in much lesser time.
Components of LASER Land Leveling System
The LASER controlled land leveling system consists of a LASER transmitter, a signal receiver, an electrical control panel, and a solenoid hydraulic control valve. The LASER transmitter transmits a LASER beam, which is intercepted by the signal receiver mounted on a leveling blade attached to the tractor. The control panel mounted on the tractor interprets the signal from the receiver and opens or closes the hydraulic control valve, which raises or lowers the leveling blade. Some LASER transmitters have the ability to level the field on single or dual graded slopes ranging from 0.01 to 15 percent.
Precision Land Leveling has been proved to be highly beneficial because it minimizes the cost of operation, ensures better degree of accuracy in much lesser time, saves irrigation water, ascertains uniform seed germination, increases fertilizer use efficiency, and resultantly enhances crop yields. An impact assessment study was carried out by Planning and Evaluation Cell of Agriculture Department during 2008 for its evaluation, which reveals following impacts at the farm level:
Saving in irrigation time from 25.1 to 32.1 percent
Increase in irrigated area by 34.5 to 42.0 percent
Improvement in crop yields from 10.7 to 12.9 percent
Reduction in farm cultureable waste land by 2.10 percent
Government has provided one time financial assistance to 11,500 farmers/service providers of Punjab for procurement of LASER land leveling units.