Precision farming is define as an information and technology based farm management system to identify, analyze and manage variability within fields by doing all practices of crop production in right place at right time and in right way for optimum profitability, sustainability and protection of the land resource. Precision agriculture is a systems approach to farming for maximizing the effectiveness of crop inputs.
Need of precision farming:
- For assessing and managing field variability: the fields have variable yields across the landscape because of variations to management practices, soil properties and/or environmental characteristics. Precision agriculture offers the potential to automate and simplify the collection and analysis of information.
- For doing the right thing in the right place at the right time: After assessing the variability precision agriculture allows management decisions to be made and implemented in right time in right places on small areas within larger fields.
- For higher productivity: Since precision farming, proposes to prescribe tailor made management practices, it will definitely increase the yield per unit of land, provided nature's other uncontrollable factors are in favor.
- For increasing the effectiveness of inputs: Increased productivity per unit of input used indicates increased efficiency of the inputs.
- For maximum use of minimum land unit: After knowing the land status, a farmer tries to improve each and every part of land and uses it for the production purpose.
Technologies include a vast array of tools of hardware, software and equipments.
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers: GPS provides continuous position information in real time, while in motion. Having precise location information at any time allows soil and crop measurements to be mapped. GPS receivers, either carried to the field or mounted on implements allow users to return to specific locations to sample or treat those areas.
Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS): A technique to improve GPS accuracy that uses pseudo range errors measured at a known location to improve the measurements made by other GPS receivers within the same general geographic area (figure at bottom).
Geographic information systems (GIS): Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer hardware and software that use feature attributes and location data to produce maps. An important function of an agricultural GIS is to store layers of information, such as yields, soil survey maps, remotely sensed data, crop scouting reports and soil nutrient levels.
Remote sensing: It is the collection of data from a distance. Data sensors can simply be hand-held devices, mounted on aircraft or satellite-based. Remotely-sensed data provide a tool for evaluating crop health. Plant stress related to moisture, nutrients, compaction, crop diseases and other plant health concerns are often easily detected in overhead images. Remote sensing can reveal in-season variability that affects crop yield, and can be timely enough to make management decisions that improve profitability for the current crop.
Rapid growth of the global agriculture industry and essential developments across the emerging countries of the world are also set to provide major traction to the precision farming market. Improved government funding, organizational assistance and advancing technologies are also expected to drive this industry over the next few years. Despite the restraining factors like lack of technical expertise and requirement of higher initial investments, the global industry for precision agriculture is said to witness steady growth over the next few years. Furthermore, environmental concerns and data management challenges are expected to be the major issues for the industry.
In-depth report on global precision farming/agriculture market by Grand View Research:
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