What is precision agriculture and how is it changing the game of crop farming? Download your copy of the sample white paper by Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence Consulting Group below.
Precision agriculture is a continually evolving term where technology advancements are stretching the bounds of production possibilities leading to greater and greater farm income and environmental benefits. Vast amounts of data are collected, measured, and analyzed at very fine scales, with the objective of making better decisions. Below are just a few examples of key precision agricultural technology categories and their evolution.
GPS Devices and GIS Tools - GPS devices in conjunction with GIS tools allow for the fine-scale monitoring and mapping of yield and crop parameter data within fields as well as enabling guidance and autosteering systems and variable rate technologies (as described below). Prior to these devices, data was collected on more of a grid sampling or zonal basis.
Guidance or AutoSteering Systems - GPS enabled controls on tractors and farm equipment greatly reduce input application overlap and lead to greater fuel savings. This technology which was once on the cutting edge is now relatively common and the new horizon is looking toward enhancement of existing technology concepts and adoption of complete autosteer equipment with the potential to further increase efficiencies and change the game in terms of human labor productivity. These systems can be used on their own or in tandem with the variable rate technologies described below.
Sensors & Data Collection - Utilization of data collection technologies such as yield monitors and soil mapping have greatly expanded over the past decade and the sophistication and further sensor technology enhancements are opening new worlds of capabilities in tracking crop conditions from on-ground equipment, scouting and aerial devices (satellites, manned and unmanned aircraft). These advancements are providing farmers with the information they need to more effectively and efficiently manage real time changes in their crop needs.
Data Analytics and Storage - Analytic and data storage capabilities are working to keep pace with the vast amounts of ever growing on- and off-farm data to provide insightful recommendations that help farmers make better decisions.
Variable Rate Technologies - Variable rate technologies (VRT) control the application of inputs at varying levels throughout a field based on specific ‘prescription maps’ that link geospatial information, data collected, and input recommendations. For example, variable rate planters can plant at different seeding rates, seeding depths, or even change out seed varieties based on agronomic conditions at varying locations throughout the field.
Agronomic Services – This is often the human link (although it could be algorithmic based) between the data being collected and input and/or production practice recommendations. For example, an agronomist may look at the collected data to make a prescription map that can then be used by equipment with VRT.
Real Time Fusion of Technologies – There are current technologies and likely many more on the horizon with the capabilities of collecting, analyzing, and controlling applications in real time. For example: an automated irrigation system whereby soil sensors collect real time information about soil moisture, the collected data is then analyzed in combination with
Download your copy of the sample whitepaper below.