Precision Farming is an integrated crop management system that used information technology to identify, analyse and manage variability within the fields for optimum profitability, sustainability and protection of land resource. It attempts to match the kind and amount of inputs with the actual crop needs for small areas with in a farm field. The goal is to manage and distribute inputs on site specific basis to maximize long term cost/benefit.
It seeks to discourage the native practice of applying same input across the entire field. It help farmers to maximize the effectiveness of crop input. Precision farming or precision agriculture is about doing the right thing, in the right place, in the right way, at the right time
Why Precision Farming?
- To enhance productivity in agriculture with respect to profit.
- Prevents soil degradation in cultivable land.
- Reduction of chemical use in crop production
- Efficient use of water resources
- Dissemination of modern farm practices to improve quality, quantity & reduced cost of production in agricultural crops
- Reduced use of water, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides thereby increased environmental benefits
- Efficient use to site variability to reap maximum benefits
- Automate the collection and analysis of information
Technology in Precision Farming
- Global Positioning System (GPS): The concept of precision farming is strictly based on the Global Positioning System (GPS). It allows precise mapping of the farms and together with appropriate software informs the farmer about the status of his crop and which part of the farm requires what input such as water or fertilizer and/or pesticides etc.
- Grid Sampling: It is a method of breaking a field into grids of about 0.5-5 hectares. Sampling soil within the grids is useful to determine the appropriate rate of application of fertilizers. Several samples are taken from each grid, mixed and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
- Variable Rate Fertilizer Application: The existing field machinery with added Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and onboard GPS can fulfill the variable rate requirement of input. Spray booms, the Spinning disc applicator with ECU and GPS have been used effectively for patch spraying. During the creation of nutrient requirement map for VRT, profit maximizing fertilizer rate should be considered more rather than yield maximizing fertilizer rate
- Remote Sensing: These are generally categories of aerial or satellite sensors. They can indicate variations in the colours of the field that corresponds to changes in soil type, crop development, field boundaries, roads, water, etc. Arial and satellite imagery can be processed to provide vegetative indices, which reflect the health of the plant
- Crop Scouting: It is referred to as monitoring, inspection or surveillance of crop for general plant health, i.e. insect pests, mites, diseases, nutritional and other disorders.
- Geographic Information System (GIS): It is software that imports, exports and processes spatially and temporally geographically distributed data
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