The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) had its genesis from establishment of an Agricultural School at Saidapet, Madras, Tamil Nadu, as early as 1868 and it was later relocated at Coimbatore.
As network project of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the expert system was developed for agriculture (Paddy, Sugarcane, Banana, Ragi and Coconut) and animal husbandry for the three state in their respective languages i.e., Tamil Nadu (Tamil), Karnataka (Kannada) and Kerala (Malayalam) to provide timely expert advice with ICT initiatives to farmers. The Expert System developed to cater to the needs of Farmers, Extension workers, Scientists, Students based on this, the three components viz., Decision Support System, Crop Doctor / Health Adviser and Information System were developed.
Information system is web based static information wherein all the technological information and complementary information about the crop have been loaded in this component. The validated contents and images have been organized based on the package of practices. Special feature of the information system is user-friendly navigation with image-based presentation. The static information system is highly useful for the extension officials, scientists, and policy makers and administers as ready reference material and bibliography of concerned crop. This content can be updated dynamically then and there based on the advancement of the technologies.
Decision support systems are a class of computer-based information systems including knowledge-based systems that support decision-making activities. DSS is a computerized system for making decisions. A decision is a choice between alternatives based on estimates of the values of those alternatives. Supporting a decision means helping farmers working alone or in a group gathers intelligence, generate alternatives and make choices. Accordingly, the DSS has been contemplated and designed to get best possible options and decision by farmer themselves for the day today agriculture operation. Drop down formula or multiple combo boxes have been created using simple dot net programme. Each box in the DSS is correlated with each one for retrieving the best possible decision support for crop cultivation.
The Decision Support System is consisting of details about Season, Variety, Soil, Water, Land preparation, Nursery Management, Cultivation, Irrigation, Nutrient Management, Farm Implements, Post-Harvest Technology, Marketing, Institutions and Schemes.
Crop doctor is a vital component in the expert system, which act as artificial intelligence. It is picture and image based ‘if and then rule’ based programme which has written using dot net programme. It deals with diagnosing the pest, disease and nutritional disorders affecting the selected crops. The first obvious sign is given as thumbnail images in the Key Visual Symptoms (Primary Symptom) with multiple stages (Secondary Symptoms). Primary and secondary symptoms have been documented in stage-by-stage and loaded in the expert system shell by using if and then rule based programme.