Precision Farming


In this blog I want to introduce the concept of Precision Agriculture (PA). The traditional process of growing of crops has been replaced by complex systems monitoring and regulating the agricultural processes. This revolution has led to a new agricultural form: precision agriculture. Which is “a farming management concept based on observing, measuring  and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops” (Wikipedia, 2015). This definition is still growing because technology changes and the idea of what is achievable changes accordingly (McBratney, et al., 2005).

Farmers need to change their way of information processing. In the past, human experience and knowledge was the main ingredient of a successful agricultural business. Nowadays intelligent systems become more and more important, and so does advanced information management. As argued in by Fountas (2015)“Precision farming requires an increasing amount of information in order to be sufficiently managed”.  An example of this is given in Precision Agriculture in Potato Production where the farmer uses spatial and temporal variability of soil conditions and also crop growth for documentation. This information is then used to analyze and manage the crops (Cambouris, et al., 2014). This approach leads to increased production and the reduction of environmental impact of agricultural activities

There are however, several drawbacks to be addressed in order to fully benefit from PA.  First, Precision Agriculture may lead to information overflow for farmers. Second, the collection of data is costly and data intensive. Last, there is a lack of technology transfer channels (Zhang, et al., 2002). For this it is important that correct systems are in place that effectively collect, store and analyze the data.

When looking at the existing literature and practices, it might very well be possible that in the future, a farmer won’t have to be physically present to inspect the crops. Farming will be about having the right measurement and data-collecting systems end the ability to analyze those data.

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Chris Stam

References

Cambouris, A., Zebarth, B., Ziadi, N. & Perron, I., 2014. Precision Agriculture in Potato Production. Potato Research, 57(3), pp. 249-262.

Fountas, S. et al., 2015. Farm machinery management information system. Computer and Electronics in Agriculture, Volume 110, pp. 131-138.

McBratney, A., Whelan, B. & Ancev, T., 2005. Future Predictions of Precision Agriculture. Precision Agriculture, Issue 6, pp. 7-23.

Wikipedia, 2015. Precision Agriculture. [Online]
Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_agriculture
[Geopend 10 October 2015].

Zhang, N., Wang, M. & Wang, N., 2002. Precision Agriculture – A worldwide overview. Computer and Electronics in Agriculture, 36(2-3), pp. 113-132.

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