High-tech equipment is becoming more and more available for many aspects of the agriculture business. For instance, now a farmer can get an automatic tractor or combine harvester that runs on satellite-created maps. They can run automatically while the farmer gets updates on the GPS navigation system about the machine’s exact location. Using this gear can reduce fuel consumption and make fertilizing and harvesting more precise. This system makes life easier for the agriculturalist, who no longer has to drive through the rain or sun.
Technology Involved in Precision Farming
The farmer sees on a screen the information that he or she needs to know: how far the vehicle has gone, how much is harvested each hour, how wet the grain is, or how many tons are unloaded per hectare, for example. Sensors on the combine harvester take in the information and send it to the driver. That way, the driver has the ability to easily adjust the speed of the machine according to the crop density, and can even use this computer to make plans about future operations on the farm.
The goal of precision farming is that a farmer can use these tools to create the ideal combination of diverse crops on his or her farmland and therefore get an ideal crop rotation system in the works, resulting in higher crop prices.
When laboratories analyze a farm’s crops, that data can be input into the computer, thereby informing the farmer when lime is needed or how much fertilizer is required on the variety of soil types present. In addition to this, anticipated sowing, spraying and fertilizing information input into the computer helps a farmer budget year by year.
A farmer can use precision farming in tandem with market analysis to better plan his or her crops. Precision farming can make it so that all parts of a field are utilized to their greatest potential. In the past, lack of information would require a farmer to spray lime, water, or fertilizer evenly across a field. But with such accurate analysis of every field, those resources can be used in the exact locations they are most needed. In addition to this, precision spraying lessens the risk that phosphorous or nitrogen may leach into surrounding water.
To make precision farming work, the agriculturalist must know, in detail, about every area of every field. He or she must also be able to control every function of the combine harvester or tractor. Thereby, a farmer could, for instance, have information about exactly how much fertilizer is needed and in what part of the field. The equipment, controlled using a GPS navigation system, knows the exact location of the tractor and can adjust how much fertilizer is being put out accordingly. In this way, GPS equipment makes the overlap that occurs while farming almost invisible. Traditional machines generally re-cover about 10 percent of their own width. With GPS farming, this is reduced to a few centimeters, cutting down on how much time and fuel a farmer spends. This is a financial and environmental asset, but the benefits are only realized on larger farms. Agriculture may well be headed towards more precise farming — some are even calling for farmers to care for plants one by one.
Monitor Crops Via Satellite
In addition to GPS and GIS, satellite crop monitoring is available to farmers. This service can give daily updates regarding weather and other conditions of a field in real-time. This would make it so the farmer spends less time investigating vegetation stage and planning fertilization and harvesting.