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Google collaborates with Nurture Farm for research into low-cost soil testing methods

Google collaborates with Nurture Farm for research into low-cost soil testing methods
22 Apr, 2022
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Google has collaborated with Nurture Farm for research into cost-effective soil quality measurement. 

The partnership will help farmers to improve yield and profitability in their practices, the company said. Google will invest in its cutting-edge AI, imaging technologies and cloud infrastructure, while Nurture Farm will help with its network of farmers for research purposes. 

This low-cost approach is achieved through a method known as hyperspectral image analysis combined with other data collection and remote sensing methods. 

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Hyperspectral imaging is a technique that analyses a wide spectrum of light instead of just the primary colours of red, green and blue for each pixel. The light striking each pixel is broken down into many different spectral bands to provide more information about the soil imaged. 

“Once developed, we will be able to provide actionable insights and advice to farmers and help them optimise their choices of crops, seeds, and nutrients,” said Pranav Tiwari, CTO at Nurture Farm. 

Also read: 5 ways tech is helping to conserve forests

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The soil quality testing currently is done through chemical-based analysis, with samples collected, sent to a laboratory and tested. Google said that there are limited testing facilities and awareness of the importance of soil testing and its indicators is low. The logistical and operational costs of collecting and transporting samples to testing facilities are also a major pain point that has further limited the soil-testing approach. 

According to a 2019 United Nations report, the world touch 9.7 billion humans by 2050, and in such a scenario, agricultural development can help mend poverty and hunger. 

Similarly, the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIT) Kharagpur on March 21 for drone-based mineral exploration.   

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