What is precision farming? According to Wikipedia precision farming is,
Precision farming or satellite farming is a farming management concept based on observing and
responding to intra-field variations. Today, precision agriculture is about whole farm management with
the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources. It relies on new technologies like
satellite imagery, information technology, and geospatial tools. It is also aided by farmers’ ability to
locate their precise position in a field using satellite positioning system like the GPS or other GNSS.
To make this a bit simpler, I think it would be easier to just break the definition down, so here is a
breakdown of the Wikipedia definition of Precision Farming:
Precision farming or satellite farming
Precision farming is a concept that allows the user, if implemented correctly, a way to deal with every field and field section variations. No two fields are the same; furthermore no two sections of that field will be exactly the same as another section.
Soil texture, composition, organic matter and pH levels all effect how your soil uses and retains nutrients. Nutrient levels fluctuate because of factors like
drainage, field work practices, cover crops, weeds and previous years yields.
By gaining the knowledge of your fields, the variances within that field, as well as a healthy precision farming plan, your farm can benefit by increasing your yields and most of all your profits.
Farm management and optimizing returns
Two things jump out at me, farm management and optimizing returns on inputs. What does that mean? I see the path for optimizing your returns most effectively by applying
the correct inputs, in the correct place and in the correct amount.
Precision farming is your way to accurately plant, populate, apply inputs and then provide data, of what was completed on your farm.
GPS technology, satellite imagery is increasing technologically just like all information technology systems used throughout the world.
I often think of cell phones when customers say GPS and precision farming systems are too complicated, five years ago many farmers had simple flip type cell phones, now eighty percent of my clients have a smart phone.
The abilities and level of accuracy make what many thought 10 years ago was a wild dream, is now a reality.
Although I often say “Precision Farming is not about driving straight,” it is a fact that using your GPS system to place you into the correct position accurately, is the foundation needed for everything else after driving straight.
I just consider driving straight as a given in this day and age, because most everyone can see the benefits of proper guess rows. Whether its driving straight to eliminate guess rows while planting, knowing what your position allows you to plant the proper population in the right place.
It helps you apply the correct amount of inputs in the correct place and even having the ability to record your yield as applied data, so you know how each section of your fields are preforming.
So what is precision farming?
I am often asked, “is precision farming right for me?” The easiest way to answer that question is, do you plant, apply inputs? If so, then you should at least look into precision farming.
It will help you maximize you investments in farming.
This is a guest post by Paul Smith (@ONTPotatoTech) the owner of Northern Equipment Solutions and based in Central Ontario, Canada. Providing Quality Potato Equipment, Precision Agriculture and Other Advanced Equipment, Northern Equipment Solutions ensures that your profits and yields are maximized. www.northernequipment.ca or email@example.com