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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334947

Research Project: Sustainable Production, Profit, and Environmental Stewardship through Conservation Systems

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Adoption of precision agriculture technology in the Southeastern United States

Author
item Ortiz, Brenda - Auburn University
item Duzy, Leah

Submitted to: Crops and Soils
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2016
Publication Date: 11/21/2016
Citation: Ortiz, B., Duzy, L.M. 2016. Adoption of precision agriculture technology in the Southeastern United States. Crops and Soils. 49:4-9. doi:10.2134/cs2016-49-0611.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agricultural production in the Southeast is diverse and differs from other regions of the United States (U.S.). Crops grown in the Southeast are specific to the region, such as cotton and peanuts. Corn farmers supply most of the grain produced to the poultry industry to support over 15 billion dollar industry in the Southeast. The adoption of farming technology, differing farm size, and soils and climate contribute to the differences between farming in the Southeast and other regions of U.S. The diversity and differences that make the Southeast unique also challenge farmers to produce crops with limited resources. Farmers must cope with frequent droughts, climate variability driven by El Niño Southern Oscillation, and degraded soils with low organic matter and water holding capacity. The challenges of farming in the Southeast, along with the opportunities to increase profitability and efficiency, have been the driving factors behind Precision Agriculture (PA) adoption in the Southeast. Although adoption of PA occurred first in the Midwest, over the last ten years the percentage of southeastern farmers who have adopted PA technologies has increased by more than 200%. Recent survey results show that producers have adopted global positioning system (GPS) guidance, automatic rate and section control, and yield monitors with GPS. Producers have adopted PA technologies to reduce input use and production costs and to save time. Data collection technologies are an important part of adopting PA strategies, particularly using yield monitor data to create yield maps. In the Southeast, precision planting and spraying and variable rate irrigation technologies are gaining popularity with the increasing pressure on farmers to reduce the amount of irrigation water applied and tightening profit margins.