Precision Agriculture on the Rise in the U.S.

7 Sep 2016
precision agriculture with related tags and terms

precision agriculture with related tags and terms

The United States has seen rapid growth in precision agriculture or information-based production technologies, according to an online publication from Economic Research Service (E.R.S.) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called Amber Waves.
Farmers are able to monitor management decisions of farm-production and potential cost savings with these advanced technologies.

There are 4 types of agriculture technologies commonly used which include: soil mapping, yield mapping, variable rate technologies (V.R.T.) and auto-guidance machinery steering.

Soil Mapping

This advanced technology uses a soil map with individual data points on it. Each point on the map requires separate geo-located soil tests.

Yield Mapping

Harvesters created yield maps to produce crop yield data that is location-specific and reports growing conditions from the year previously. This data is then gathered into a map. GPS technology provides data on corn farm soil-related growing conditions, which is also gathered into a map. Potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen levels are usually mapped as well along with micronutrients and soil-type.

Yield mapping offers data on the year’s growing conditions with the yields being reflected across the farmer’s fields. This advanced technology gives useful data about how effective the recent practices are and has shown savings due to this technology that has just about doubled the $13 per acre savings from soil mapping using GPS.

Variable Rate Technologies (V.R.T.)

This is the only technology out of the four that typically has to be developed in combination with other types of precision technology. It allows producers to vary the input rate of crops and uses mapping in order to find this rate. Agricultural inputs can be programmed by farmers by using either soil or yield maps in order to apply various input levels at various rates within a field.

Auto-Guidance Machinery Steering

Auto-tractor and self-steering guidance systems, also equipped with GPS tracking technology, have helped with the accuracy of field operations. Systems like these stop machines and tractors from covering the same ground more than one or from missing patches.

These types of systems not only help combat equipment-operator fatigue, but also save on machine wear-and-tear and fuel.

 

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