With the growing population on our planet, expectations are that there will be a significant increase in the global demand for calories. The dependence on agriculture to provide humanity with high-quality and reliable crops is only growing stronger. This calls for evolution and enhancement in the traditional methods used in the agriculture sector. Thankfully, technology has empowered farmers and other people involved in the sector to have access to more data when it comes to farming. In other words, technology has facilitated the rise of precision agriculture.
In this article, we’ll explore what precision agriculture is and why it is important. We’ll also look at some of the most popular types of technology used in precision agriculture.
What is precision agriculture: definition
To understand the concept of precision agriculture, it’s best to start with a definition. Precision agriculture relies on advanced and sophisticated precision agriculture technologies, like satellite imagery, field mapping or farm weather stations to boost the overall profitability of crops and enhance their quality. Precision agriculture doesn’t neglect traditional resources. Instead, it uses them strategically and incorporates them in the bigger picture, reducing the reliance on traditional inputs.
The new form of agricultural management solution facilitates the growth of sustainable agriculture, reducing the required land, water, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides for the farming process. As a result, it provides a solution to common economic and ecological issues, which most parts of the world face at one point or another.
Defining precision agriculture alone reveals some of its benefits and use cases for the global agricultural sector. However, let’s dive into the topic of why we need precision agriculture in more detail.
Why is precision agriculture important
There are a number of reasons why precision agriculture is vital for the resolution of the challenges faced by the global agricultural sector.
Ability to react
The agricultural sector is easily affected by different factors. Some of these could be rain, temperatures, humidity levels, natural disasters, and others. Although some of these factors are out of our control, precision agriculture enables us to react quickly and appropriately to minimize losses.
In addition, precision agriculture provides opportunities for significantly reducing the number of resources necessary to produce crops. By strategically allocating resources, farmers could enjoy higher crop productivity and yields, yet lower expenses. This is because efficiency is maximized via the use of advanced technology.
In addition, farmers can enjoy remote control of their farms via the use of precision agriculture systems. They also contribute to better planning for agricultural operations for longer periods of time, allowing farmers to make changes and adjust the plan in real-time where necessary.
Overall, precision agriculture increases production, minimizes costs, and reduces the number of resources needed. It helps create a stable and secure food supply, offering a solution to one of the planet’s greatest threats – hunger. In a nutshell, here are the main benefits of precision agriculture:
- Reduced costs of materials & resources
- Maximizing soil health and fertility
- Ability to respond appropriately to weather conditions
- The optimal potential of produced crops
Read more: Advantages of precision agriculture
What technology is used in precision agriculture
What is precision agriculture technology?
GIS or Geographic Information Systems are one of the most popularly used technologies in precision agriculture. They enable farmers to gain access to records like soil survey maps or plant characteristics typical for the region. These systems work with object details and location insights to produce digital maps. Via the use of remote sensing, they separate the farm into zones, each one with its own distinct characteristics. Analyzing these characteristics and properties demands the use of GIS and GPS solutions.
Extra details can be extracted from satellite images and aerial photography. In addition, GIS has the capacity to analyze a multitude of farm management options by performing comparisons and data manipulations where necessary.
UAVs & Dusters
UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles enable farmers to keep track and monitor the condition of the farm without physically visiting or scouting the fields personally. Although crop dusters are also an option (and perhaps one that seems easier and more logical at first), they may not be the best solution. Despite the fact that farmers can rely on them for things like watering and sowing and can add hyperspectral cameras to any agricultural aircraft, this will additionally force the crop dusters to work harder and will cause a lot more depreciation of the devices. In addition, there’s the consequence of environmental pollution as a result of these processes. Plus, to use these devices, farmers will require qualified and paid pilots.
UAVs and precision agriculture drones offer an alternative. They can operate via remote control, eliminating the need for employees or physical presence. Furthermore, they require less fuel and can inspect the field in detail, performing detailed multispectral, thermal, and hyperspectral soil examinations.
Satellites enable farmers to examine the condition of the yield and its health via satellite images. The technology can offer access to data on diseases, structural anomalies, moisture stress, nutrient levels, and more. Advanced precision agriculture satellites provide some of the most reliable and accurate information. The solution can also be explored to forecast and organize plant treatments and choose the right agricultural chemicals.
Precision agriculture is yet to develop to further help us strengthen the abilities of the agricultural sector around the world. We’re yet to witness the growth and evolution of this opportunity and reap the benefits of intelligent and data-rich farming.