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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350286

Title: Decision support for economic and environmental impact of tractor guidance on small crop and livestock farms

item Owens, Phillip
item Ashworth, Amanda

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/3/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Tractor Guidance Analysis Model (TGA) was developed to assist small-scale crop and livestock producers, consultants, and extension personnel with assessing the viability of auto-steer tractor guidance to improve yields, reduce inputs, extend workdays, thereby enhancing the efficiency of machinery and tractor operators. Using the Microsoft Excel® software platform, TGA utilizes default efficiency gain measurements observed at the USDA-ARS Booneville, AR Small Farm Research Center and/or existing literature to provide a decision-support tool that performs partial budgeting and breakeven analyses for user-specified farm operations. For example, is the decision to invest in less accurate technology at a lower cost more economical than expensive technology with better accuracy? How sensitive are feasibility results to purported efficiency gains when terrain attributes such as slope change? At what level of annual use will the technology pay off with changeable equipment when growing different field crops, managing weeds, and/or establishing pasture? This automated decision-support software provides user flexibility for operation-specific details and tracks technology-driven changes in fertilizer, fuel, seed, labor, and chemical inputs to estimate the profitability of tractor guidance investment, the breakeven annual use needed to make the investment feasible, and the potential environmental impact.