Twenty-three participants from the Thailand Rice Department, Agricultural Engineering Department, and CTA-Trimble attended training on using laser land leveling technology. Laser leveling precisely level fields and has been demonstrated to improve the use of water and allow farmers to reduce seeding by 50% in rain-fed rice fields and increase yield by 15-20%.
Participants learned how to survey fields, use laser-controlled leveling equipment and tractors as well as cost benefit analysis for land leveling. Fields were surveyed using standard laser equipment as well as the latest in vehicle mounted computer controlled GPS systems supplied by CTA-Trimble. The GPS equipment is already being used for sugar cane production in Thailand but not yet for rice, according to Mr. Thanach Songmetahakrit from CTA-Trimble.
“This was the first skill-based training course on laser leveling given within the department,” Mr. Boondit from the Thai Rice Department said. Large-scale trials and demonstrations will now be conducted on research stations and farmers’ fields in the northeast and central plains areas of Thailand later this year.
Joe Rickman, an expert on mechanization and production systems from the International Rice Research Institute, headed the training. The course was held at the Roi-Et Rice Research Center and Land Development Station in North East Thailand on 11 to 14 May.
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