Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to variability in crops. These variabilities contain many components that can be difficult to compute and as a result, technology has advanced to off-set these difficulties.
Two types of technology can generally be found within precision agriculture: those which ensure accuracy, and those that are meant to enhance farming operations. By combining these two technologies, farmers are able to create a decision support system for an entire operation, thereby maximizing profits and minimizing excessive resource use.
Examples of Precision Ag Technology:
Guidance Systems – visual or auto-guidance systems for farm equipment that can reduce overlap, improve accurate placement of inputs, and preserve conservation practice installations.
Variable Rate Technology – machines and systems to apply varying rates of inputs, including nutrients across a field.
Automatic Section Control – Turns application equipment off in areas that have previously been covered or in no-spray zones such as grassed waterways.
Crop Sensors / Remote Sensing – includes satellite and drone imagery to scout crops, soil sensors to monitor water and nutrient availability, and the emerging field of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.
Yield Monitoring/Mapping – a combination of yield measuring sensors on harvest equipment and software packages. Maps developed through this technology may be used to develop management zones, adapt nutrient management programs, and plan conservation practices.
Tools and resources:
Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering