Precision Farming: A gateway to the sustainable world

  • Analysis
  • 06-November-2015

Precision farming is an agricultural management technique that deals with managing the variability in crops in conjugation with inter and intra field variations. This technique reckons upon new technologies like satellite imaging, information technology, and geospatial tools (that locate the temporal and spatial elements). With the advent of positioning technical advances like GPS and GNSS, farmers can locate their precise position in a field that helps in managing various attributes in the field.

In simple terms, precision farming permits an effective approach to manage each field and field segment varieties. Variation in soil texture, structure, its biological content and pH levels all impact how the field uses and holds nutrients. These levels fluctuate as a result of elements like waste, field work practices, weeds and earlier years' yields among many others. By analyzing the field data, the variations inside the field, and the exactness of elements, the production yields is enhanced and results in overall growth and profit for the farm .

This agricultural concept leads to optimum usage of water, pesticides, seed, and nutrients giving better yield in a sustainable manner. When the world is talking about food scarcity, enhanced technologies like these can be an effective way to overcome the challenge.

Few components used in precision farming-
                       Yield monitoring   Provides a crop yield by time or distance,   also tracks number of loads and fields.
                          Yield mapping With help of GPS, maps down the spatial coordinates of field attributes
                       Weed mapping Maps and locates weeds. Later, the determined positions are used to compare them with yield per area.
                   Variable rate fertilizer Either manually or with a keyboard connected to a computer, fertilizers are sprayed with precision.
              Topography and Boundaries Knowing the exact topography of a field helps. Field divisions, water channels  can then be handled precisely to maximize the output.
                      Variable Spraying After locating weeds through weed mapping, it becomes necessary to control the spray of herbicides and pesticides. So variable spraying controls the amount of sprays.

  • North America leads the global precision farming market. Innovation led by research is anticipated to be the growing factor for this market in the next few years.
  • The rising concerns over Food Security and the recent sustainable goals by UN clearly advocate the need for better agricultural practices across the world.
  • The agricultural dominant economies of the Asia Pacific region will be a huge upcoming market for precision farming. Government assistance in educating and driving these practices will play a major role in the growth of this market.
  • The global precision farming market will, in the next few years, grow its footprints across developed and developing countries thus making it a profitable market

 In News recently-
  • Biological and agricultural engineering department at the University of California-Davis, recently developed LeafMon, the third generation of sensor-based technology. LeafMon is capable to accurately detect the plants’ moisture status, thus assisting in irrigation based decisions. This technology will lead to better irrigation efficiency as compared to soil moisture sensors.  Cermetek Microelectronics has licensed this technology. Cermetek Microelectronics develops and markets agricultural water management and control system’s hardware and software. 
  • Recently Global Harvest Initiative, a private-sector policy, threw some light on the potential of precision farming. This endeavour asks to consolidate it with advances in seed, compost and bio-horticulture innovations to "farm smart and conserve smart". To expand the reach of precision agriculture -the spread of broadband across the rural farms is very essential suggests the GAP report.

Precision farming or precision agriculture when spread worldwide can lead to a substantial increase in the food productivity.