As we have already seen in other articles, there are numerous types of agriculture depending on the form of management and the objective it pursues. Today we are going to talk about a type of modern agriculture that helps to improve yield with the help of technology. It’s about the precision farming. It is a branch of agriculture that is becoming increasingly popular 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, ground 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 as many crops as possible in the shortest possible time and at the lowest cost. For this reason, modern technology is being used more and more to be able to optimize all the variables used in agriculture. With a way of being able to better control all the variables that affect crops and their growth, we can help to produce more. Among this technology we find the use of satellites, remote sensing, drones that are capable of monitoring crops, a soil mapping that contains a large amount of information that is recorded by the GIS software and a long etcetera.
There are many productive sectors that are betting on new technologies. We are talking about sectors such as the food industry, medicine, the automotive industry and other sectors where technology is revolutionizing the system. In this case, It is intended 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, it is possible to obtain a great amount of precision in the situation of the crop. In this way, it is possible to optimize the use of resources to the maximum, save costs and dose with great precision the applications of inputs such as water, fertilizers and phytosanitary, among others.
Differences between precision agriculture and traditional agriculture
Many people wonder to what extent the use of technology can make the difference between precision agriculture and traditional agriculture. However, it is not too difficult to make this distinction. It can be said that an agricultural field where you have a weather station and use this information to be able to analyze weather patterns could be, in a certain way, precision agriculture. But it has not been called that until a large number of layers of information have been added that are obtained from different sources.
For precision agriculture a lot of technology applied to crop yield is needed. Not by using any type of modern technology should the term precision agriculture be applied. We are going to emphasize this a bit more. 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 on a global level, but rather it is something much more concrete. This is 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. Therefore, data collection, analysis and interpretation is 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 is self-driving and linked by a GPS. This machine is capable of completely covering a part of a plot. 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 can be obtained that extract the characteristics of crops in experts not visible to the human eye such as infrared. With these data we can know the water stress of the 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 gaining strength. This is because they are useful for certain disciplines including agriculture. And it is that they have multispectral, thermal cameras, etc. These prunings allow us a great precision that for now it is impossible that with a satellite it can be obtained. In addition, you do not have the effect of clouds nor do you have to make as many corrections as the satellite photos. This is mainly due to the distance from the crop to the satellite and the interference caused by the atmosphere. We must also add that they are much cheaper than a private satellite.
- Sensorization in plots: These are weather stations that are cheap and specific. They can have sensors such as environmental humidity, humidity and temperature, different levels of the soil, environmental temperature, direction and speed of the wind, solar radiation, dentrometers, rainfall, 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: It is information that can be obtained using specific machinery. It is a device that walks around the particular plot and tells us the number of parameters that the soil has. It is an analysis of the agricultural soil with data extracted from a specific sampling. And it is that the ground changes more than it seems to us. Thanks to this soil mapping we can obtain information such as pH, electrical conductivity, texture, main macronutrients …
- Big data: It is 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.