Do you know what precision is? This concept is born at the beginning of the 80s in the USA, but its value grows exponentially in the last years with the arrival of new technologies (sensors, GPS, and drones).
Precision farming is managing the crops, measuring and acting upon the many variables affecting them.
It can be made by satellite navigation systems, geographic information, and sensors located in the plot. These systems gather information that is later used to make more precise decisions, also, to optimize the performance of the crops.
The four main stages of precision farming
For implementing crop control, it is necessary to take these four steps:
- Acquiring data.
The amount and variety of data are as extensive as our technological capacity and as the number and types of sensors we have. Some of the most used sensors are Ground humidity, flowmeter, Electrical conductivity,
geolocalization, pH meter, soil type, plague and disease probability.
- Data analysis.
Once the information is registered, it must be handled for interpretation and understanding, for this, we use all the statistics and mathematics tools we have at our reach, such as AgGis, data classification, graphics, mapping, etc.
- Decision making, preventing and managing.
When having all the information about our crop or plot, it’s time for the engineer or agricultural technician to act, the sum of the data and the agronomic knowledge plus his experience, make the perfect conditions for better decision making about the crops.
These actions can be preventive (working ahead on plagues and diseases) or of management (knowing how much and when you have to water, with its resulting savings) thanks to the anticipation and measurements.
- Monitorization of the performance.
At the end of every season is the time to evaluate production, our actions, and the final performance, with the goal of learning from our mistakes and knowing our right choices. This is easier thanks to the ongoing monitorization we have of the crop and being able to measure the effects of our actions immediately and during a certain time, also, the ability to store the information allows us to compare between seasons.
What can Precision Farming offer?
This technology contributes to a more efficient and ecologic farming.
It allows us to save in phytosanitary products and composts and to reduce the amount of used nitrogen, thus reducing costs and enabling farming enhancement.
It can also help reduce the ecological impact by optimizing the use of water, pesticides and machinery fuel; so with fewer resources, you get better production, allowing you to face the decreasing amount of farming land we are know suffering and the world’s growing population.
Because of all the above, precision farming is, perhaps, the most important pillar of sustainable agriculture. It is imperative to take on this new production models in order to guarantee a sufficient agricultural production.