Precision agriculture is the use of advanced technologies that enable farmers and growers to improve soil quality and productivity by implementing a series of targeted key interventions.
These can increase crop yields, enhance field operations, fast-track management decisions, help with pest management or soil mapping, or allow real-time tracking of crop inputs, soil moisture, or crop status.
For every farmer, ag retailer, and agronomist, most especially those who are growing in at least 100 acres, technology has become an unavoidable aspect of conducting business. The need to do more with less is very prevalent. Thanks to precision agriculture, everything is now possible in your farming operation.
What is precision agriculture?
Often known as precision ag or precision farming, precision agriculture represents a series of technological interventions that allow farmers and growers to do more with less. It is everything that makes farming more precise and controlled, especially when it comes to growing crops and rearing livestock.
It is the utilization of information technology and a wide range of objects such as GPS guidance, sensors, control systems, drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, aerial photography, and autonomous vehicles for agricultural applications. Precision ag can help guide future decisions and has become a key component of modern agriculture.
Farmers can use GPS devices on tractors, for example, to sow crops in more effective patterns and travel from point A to point B with more precision, saving time and fuel. Real-time sensors can take field measurements and can monitor a variety of soil types, monitoring soil fertility, fertilizer inputs, soil constituents, and other soil characteristics. Neural networks can monitor thousands of sensors and inputs, using big data and artificial intelligence to detect patterns and suggest modifications.
The rise of precision agriculture
As early as the 19th century, the need for precision agriculture was already realized when John Deere, a blacksmith from Vermont, traveled to Illinois and realized that the farmers were having difficulties. Their ancient iron plows became clogged with sticky prairie soil, causing them to stop regularly to clear the blades.
It was only in 1990s that precision agriculture started to boom. More precise GPS units, yield monitors, and software applications became available to aid producers in collecting field data and interpreting it for production decisions.
Benefits of precision agriculture
The goal of precision agriculture is to produce more with fewer resources while keeping high quality standards. Aside from saving time and money, these are the other benefits to an entire operation:
- The increased precision during field activities can lead to fewer overlaps (areas in the field where two applications are made) and gaps (areas in the field where no application is made)
- Farming businesses that can maximize their labor and resources, reduce waste and consumption, and increase land production. Farmers and contractors profit more from their labor as procedures are controlled more swiftly and effectively, resulting in lower hourly expenses. Last but not least, they improve productivity while lowering employee fatigue.
- Because of a more sensible use of resources, there is less waste of fertilizers, herbicides, and other farming inputs; also, there are fewer emissions, and less soil compaction, which is good for environmental sustainability.
It’s important to remember that precision farming is becoming increasingly important as the global need for food rises in tandem with the exponential growth of the human population.
Applications in precision agriculture
Top technologies that are now influencing precision agriculture include robotics, navigation, sensors, and variable rate dispensing. Here are more examples of precision technology:
- Mobile technology
- Digital technology
- Internet of things
- Computer queries
- Variable-Rate Technology (VRT)
- Weather Modeling
- Nitrogen modeling
- Yield maps
- Auto guidance equipment
Best precision agriculture company
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