As we have already seen in other articles, there are numerous types of agriculture depending on the way of management and the objective it pursues. Today we are going to talk about a type of modern agriculture that helps improve yield with the help of technology. It is about precision agriculture . It is a branch of agriculture that is becoming increasingly famous in the agricultural sector. And it uses modern technology such as sensors, given in real time, monitoring, use of satellites, remote sensing, drones, GIS software, soil mapping, etc.
In this article we are going to teach you all the characteristics and importance of precision agriculture.
What is precision agriculture
The objective of agriculture has always been to be able to produce the largest number of crops in the shortest possible time and at the lowest cost. For this reason, modern technology is increasingly used to optimize all the variables used in agriculture. With a way to better control all the variables that affect crops and their growth, we can help produce more. Among this technology we find running use of satellites, remote sensing, drones that are capable of monitoring crops, a mapping of soils where large amounts of information that are recorded by the GIS software and a long etcetera are contained.
There are many productive sectors that are committed to new technologies. We are talking about sectors such as the food industry, medicine, automotive and other sectors where technology is revolutionizing the system. In this case, we try to improve performance, improve products and their quality, save costs, reduce emissions,etc. It can be said that precision agriculture is a type of agriculture that makes use of information and communication technologies for crop management. Thanks to this use of technologies, a great amount of precision can be obtained in the situation of the crop. In this way, it is possible to optimize the use of resources to the maximum, save on costs and dose with great precision the applications of inputs such as water, fertilizers and plant protection, among others.
Differences between precision agriculture and traditional agriculture
Many people question the extent to which the use of technology can make the difference between precision agriculture and traditional agriculture. However, it is not too complicated to make this distinction. It can be said that an agricultural field where you have a meteorological station and use this information to analyze weather patterns could be, in a way, precision agriculture. But it has not been so named until a large number of layers of information have been added that are obtained from different sources.
For precision agriculture, a large amount of technology applied to crop yield is needed. Not by using any type of modern technology should the term precision agriculture be applied. Let’s do a little more emphasis on this. We give the example of using an image obtained from a satellite to be able to obtain the agronomic index of an area. This is how we know the fertilization needs of a crop. This cannot be said to be carried out at a global level, but is something much more concrete. It is here where we can use the amount of fertilizer according to the data obtained and save a lot of money on it.
Keep in mind that fertilizer is one of the most expensive factors for crop production. For this reason, data collection, analysis and interpretation are carried out using modern technology. This is the reason why precision agriculture is known.
We are going to analyze what types of modern technologies exist in precision agriculture.
- Autonomous driving machinery: This machinery drives itself and is linked by a GPS. This machine is capable of completely covering a part of a parcel. You just have to monitor the telemetry of the process so that everything goes well as established.
- Satellite images: thanks to satellites and drones, images that extract the characteristics of the crops can be obtained from experts not visible to the human eye, such as infrared. With these data we can know the water stress of plants smells vigor of a crop. As a result, we can use this data to understand and make decisions that help minimize costs and optimize results.
- Drones: In this world, drones are gathering more and more strength. This is because they are useful for certain disciplines including agriculture. And it is that they have multispectral cameras, thermal cameras, etc. These prunings allow us great precision, which for now is impossible for a satellite to obtain. In addition, the effect of the clouds is not had nor it is necessary to do in as many corrections as the photos of satellites. This is mainly due to the distance from the crop to the satellite and the interference caused by the atmosphere. It must also be added that they are much cheaper than a private satellite.
- Parcel sensorization: these are meteorological stations that are cheap and specific. They can have sensors such as environmental humidity, humidity and temperature at different soil levels, environmental temperature, wind direction and speed, solar radiation, denometers, pluviometry, etc. All this type of information is very useful to be able to make predictions before the appearance of pests and technological states of the ecosystem.
- Soil mapping: this is information that can be obtained using specific machinery. It is a device that walks through the specific plot and tells us the number of parameters that the soil has. It is an analysis of agricultural soil with data extracted from a point sampling. And is that the ground changes more than we think. Thanks to this soil mapping we can obtain information such as pH, electrical conductivity, texture, main macronutrients …
- Big data: It’s all about cloud computing. Here all the data that is collected through the different sensors are recorded. All the necessary information is found to optimize resources.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about precision agriculture.