Submitted to: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2007
Publication Date: 3/1/2008
Citation: Kitchen, N.R. 2008. Emerging technologies for real-time and integrated agriculture decisions. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 61(1):1-3.
Interpretive Summary: Information-driven management has been fundamental to modern agriculture for many decades, but until recently the decisions were simple and usually the same from one field to the next for a farm. However, over the past 20 years as the capacity to collect both different types and greater amounts of information has mushroomed, so has the need to accelerate the processing of information into reliable decisions. Often this type of farming is called “precision agriculture.” Many farmers have collected more information but have not found a way to use it. One obvious answer is precision agriculture that integrates data collection, data processing, and management actions into packaged products so that it is more convenient for farmers. This paper is an introduction of seven research papers that highlight instances demonstrating this type of precision agriculture. Examples of these research papers include on-the-go sensing of soil nutrients and compaction, use of reflectance plant sensors for variable applications of nitrogen fertilizer, use of wireless sensor networks for frost control and irrigation management, and robotic systems for weed control. Use of these types of automated systems will benefit farmers by helping them be more efficient. In some cases these technologies will help farmers do site-specific pesticide and fertilizer operations, reducing applications in field areas that don’t require as much. These actions will help protect rivers and streams.
Technical Abstract: The papers in this special issue arise from the premise that precision agriculture information increases in value when data collection, data processing, and management actions are integrated. It seems evident that precision agriculture adoption has been hindered, in part, due to the lack of products that bring together engineering and agronomics. In the end, users of precision agriculture systems want to know that the best science and technology are employed, but that the information-gathering and decision-making process doesn’t hinder their day-to-day operations of producing the crop. The papers in this special issue were presented at a symposium held at the annual meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and Crop Science Society of America in 2005. They highlight examples of spatial information collection and processing to accomplish real- or near real-time management operations.