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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING SOIL AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINED PRODUCTIVITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Soil Plant Nutrient Research (SPNR)

Title: Precision Farming and Conservation Advances Agricultural Sustainability

Authors
item Berry, Joseph - U OF DENVER, DENVER, CO
item Delgado, Jorge
item Khosla, Rajiv - CO ST U, FT. COLLINS, CO

Submitted to: World Wide Web
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2008
Publication Date: February 28, 2008
Citation: Berry, J., Delgado, J.A., Khosla, R. 2008. Precision Farming and Conservation Advances Agricultural Sustainability. World Wide Web. http://vector1media.com/article/feature/precision-farming-advances-agriculltural-sustainability/

Interpretive Summary: To many, Precision Farming, more formally termed Precision Agriculture, seems like an oxymoron. With mud up to the axles and 400 acres left to plough, precision seems worlds away. Yet site-specific management makes sense to an exponentially growing number of farmers. Mapping and analyzing the inherent variability in field conditions and linking the derived spatial relationships to management action places production agriculture at the cutting edge of geotechnology applications. Couple this with the U.S. Department of Labor’s recognition the Geotechnology is one of the three “mega-technologies” of the 21st Century (biotechnology and nanotechnology are the other two heavy-hitters) and it is apparent that seat of the pants farming is more and more in front of the computer. So where is Precision Farming headed? The short answer is that it is being extended from a focus on crop production on individual fields to understanding and managing the complex flows and cycles defining stewardship at a landscape scale. The mix of spatial technologies that help increase yields per hectare will be applied to understand and manage agricultural systems and to connect the flows from these systems to natural areas in an effort to manage entire regions for maximum yield and agro-environmental sustainability.

Technical Abstract: To many, Precision Farming, more formally termed Precision Agriculture, seems like an oxymoron. Yet site-specific management makes sense to an exponentially growing number of farmers. So where is Precision Farming headed? The short answer is that it is being extended from a focus on crop production on individual fields to understanding and managing the complex flows and cycles defining stewardship at a landscape scale. With continued increases in population growth and increased demands of land resources for food and biofuel production, maximizing agricultural production is increasingly necessary. Advances in geotechnology can be used to synchronize best management practices that maximize yields while reducing unnecessary inputs and losses of sediment and other chemicals to the environment. As new technological advances continue to emerge, adaptations of Precision Farming and Conservation techniques by land owners, managers, farmers, and extension personnel will be widely implemented. These new technologies can contribute to higher efficiency of resource management, economical returns, and environmental sustainability. Precision Farming and Precision Conservation will play significant roles in maximizing and sustaining agricultural yields while contributing to global sustainability in the 21st century.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014