|Lindsay, Karen - University Of Arkansas|
|Popp, Michael - University Of Arkansas|
Submitted to: Agricultural and Environmental Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2018
Publication Date: 8/23/2018
Citation: Ashworth, A.J., Lindsay, K.R., Popp, M.P., Owens, P.R. 2018. Economic and environmental impact assessment of tractor guidance technology. Agricultural and Environmental Letters. 3:1-5. Available: https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/ael/pdfs/3/1/180038.
Interpretive Summary: Precision agriculture technologies can assist producers by improving yields, reducing nutrient inputs, and enhancing crop productivity. Researchers developed a decision-support software called Tractor Guidance Analysis (TGA) that performs partial budgeting to quantify environmental and economic repercussions of precision agriculture technologies. This tool summarizes effects of tractor guidance technology on user-specified farm operations and quantifies resulting environmental impacts from reduced on farm inputs (e.g., fertilizer, seed, and pesticide). Overall, tractor guidance was profitable for three on-farm scenarios that were assessed and led to reduced carbon emissions. However, both environmental and economic savings were: crop type, farm size, and technology-level specific. This tool may help promote agricultural sustainability by informing users of economic and environmental repercussions of precision agriculture technologies, thereby enhancing technology adoption.
Technical Abstract: Tractor guidance (TG), a precision agriculture technology, allows for precise input applications, which leads to efficiency gains that are difficult to quantify at the systems-level. A decision-support tool, “TG Analysis” (TGA) was developed to quantify carbon equivalent (CE) emission savings, associated with this technology for three scenarios (500 ha each): i) cotton (Gossypium hirsutum); ii) soybean (Glycine max); and, iii) cotton and soybean ‘Mixed’. CE emission reductions also known as carbon footprint savings for soybean, ‘Mixed’, and cotton enterprises were 5.56, 16.51, and 27.45 kg ha-1, respectively. Overall, TG was profitable and led to farm-level CE emission savings of 15.7, 3.5, and 9.6 Mg for cotton, soybean, and ‘Mixed’ operations, respectively. These results highlight CE savings that are i) crop specific; ii) scale dependent; and iii) equipment/input-use specific. Consequently, TGA can improve agricultural sustainability by informing users of economic and environmental repercussions of TG, and may thereby enhance technology adoption.