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Precision agriculture – less input, more output

‘Precision agriculture’ is simply new ways and use of technologies to increase crop yields and profitability while lowering traditional amounts of input needed to grow crops (land, water, herbicides, insecticides and fertiliser).

Farmers are seeking to use less to grow more. Pierre Roberts made the first contribution to this procedure as he introduced and advocated precision agriculture in the early 1980s.

Precision farming is one of the top ten practices in modern agriculture and has been adopted by millions around the world. It was even recognised as the most significant strategies introduced to the United States agricultural sectors in the mid to late 1980s.

Examples of precision agriculture include evaluating the natural soil variability of a field. If the soil in one area holds water, better crops can be planted more densely and irrigation can be sparing, or if the land is better used for grazing, more cattle can graze than a similar area of poorer quality soil.

In assessing these factors, the technologies play a key and pertinent role in achieving this.

Precision agriculture has shown that there was a stronger influence of technological advancements rather than innovations in information gathering and analysis that was attributed to its success.

Some technologies would be the GPS-based applications, sensors and even yield monitors. There have been studies conducted in which the profitability of precision agriculture is directly related to commodity prices.

As these crop prices vary on the market, farmers can benefit greatly from its economic gain and receive the profit on their investments of precision farming technologies and techniques.

In summary, this methodology is founded on the feasibility of less input, more output and acknowledging that the technologies are necessary for maximum success.

It is a beneficial and much needed innovation in local and international agriculture as it will maximise greatly on the profitability of this sector and increase attention to the extremely fulfilling field of agriculture.

Some benefits of precision agriculture include:

  • Reduces time and material wastage;
  • Lowers the occurrence of pesticides leaching to groundwater in sandy soils;
  • Reduces overapplication of chemical input into crops;
  • Implementing better growing processes is providing produce that is of a higher quality;
  • Higher quality of life for farmers as their physical output is greatly reduced since there are technologies available to do work quicker and sometimes more efficiently.

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