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Precision agriculture: its benefits and limitations

Precision agriculture is an approach of directing small regions within fields instead of directing whole fields as one unit. Numerous farmers have recorded the significance of utilizing site-specific data to manage nutrients, pests, water, seeding rates, and other resources in a more efficient manner.

Precision farming is related to sophisticated technologies in satellites and computers, which most farmers have neither the financial or physical resources to employ. However, precision farming can still be implemented to improve various crop management decisions even without costly technologies. A number is provided in this article. Precision farming can improve farming practice that can be directed across different regions or over time. Here are some management examples that may benefit from precision farming:

Quality and Fertility of Soil. Levels of yield within a field may be correlated with levels of soil nutrients. Choices regarding  rates of fertilizer, the area for lime application, the location and the method of applying manure may be based on this information. Compaction, water holding capacity, drainage, buffer strips, and erosion can be based on data regarding traffic patterns, topsoil depth, and organic  matter.

Pest Management. Searching for pests can be applied in field sections, in the same manner, it has been done to whole fields. Diseases, insects, and weed infestations have the tendency to group together in patches. Fundamental technologies regarding these data can help determine the possible locations of these infestations. Farmers may then make judgments about a site-specific treatment that can reduce water contamination risk or save money .

Decisions on Planting. Seeding rate, variety option, seeding rate decisions may gain from site-specific information. Varieties that are tolerant to drought may be required on sandy soil or south-facing slopes. Plants that are tolerant to salt may be required on saline soils. There might be a delay on seeding dates or they may be an increase in seeding rates to obtain maximum yield potential on north-facing slopes.

Placement of Projects. There are certain projects that must be placed only on suitable sites. Farmers can establish where individual projects are most appropriate if they know the farm’s spatial characteristics.

Precision Agriculture: Its Benefits

Precision agriculture can provide both environmental and economic benefits as consequences from reduced or targeted placement of crop inputs that include water, pesticides, and nutrients. There are other various benefits.

Precise nutrient applications can give important environmental and economic benefits. The aim is to apply only the nutrients that the plants require and can use. Moreover, there may be a requirement to manage application in areas that are environmentally sensitive. Rates of application will differ within the field based on the type of soils, levels of fertility, and sensitivity to the environment. There is some type of soils in a field that does not have the potential to validate maximum rates of nutrient application.  On the other hand, there might be areas that need to be reduced rates because of sensitivity to the environment.

Precise pesticide applications can offer both economic and environmental benefits. One of the cheapest and fastest environmental payoffs for applications of pesticides is the use of light bar guidance systems. These affordable light bar guidance systems offer an easy method to lead equipment across a field to prevent overlapping when pesticides are being sprayed.

Problems in Precision Agriculture

According to farmer Brian Watkins, who farms 7,000 acres of soybeans and corn in Kenton, Ohio faces problems in precision agriculture. This involves system upgrades as this undermines his historical data. He needs to install different base stations everytime he buys a better system. There is a slight shift in geographic coordinates and his data suffers.

Moreover, precision farming cannot be utilized completely in every crop. It needs the farmers to embark on various technological, technical, and economical conditions before the adoption of this technology.

Conclusion

Despite the disadvantages to precision farming, there is great hope that utilizing this technology will greatly enhance the benefits of farmers who decide to embark on this technology.

(Source – http://carrhure.com/blog/)

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