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emerging technology

How precision agriculture technology is powering digital transformation in farming

Chris Powers
April 12th, 2021
5 MINUTE READ

Agriculture has evolved considerably over the course of thousands of years. Through trial and error, farmers have learned to make informed decisions in order to deliver high-yield crops. But they don’t always have all the necessary information needed to make these decisions. From finance to healthcare, data is revolutionizing numerous industries, helping people make more informed decisions to achieve better outcomes. With precision agriculture technology, farmers too are using data to create bigger harvests, make bigger profits, and farm smarter.

What is precision agriculture?

In an environment where demand for food is steadily increasing—along with the cost of labor and materials necessary to produce food—farmers need to do more with less. Figuring out how to extract the maximum amount of yield from farmland using the least amount of inputs is top of mind for farmers these days. That’s where precision agriculture comes into play.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines precision agriculture as, “a management system that is information and technology based, is site specific and uses one or more of the following sources of data: soils, crops, nutrients, pests, moisture, or yield, for optimum profitability, sustainability, and protection of the environment.”

Digital transformation in the agriculture space has arrived, and precision agriculture technologies are leading the charge. Armed with the power of data, precision agriculture solutions are helping farmers better understand their land, refine processes, and maximize efficiency. From intelligent crop sensors, to farm geographic information systems (GIS), to crop dusting drones, precision agriculture technology is driving profits for farmers while helping them effectively manage resources and adopt more sustainable practices.

How precision agriculture works

The main goal of precision agriculture is to provide growers with valuable data, insights, and information to enable them to work smarter, not harder. The land, labor, and materials necessary to produce high-yield crops are extremely costly. Farmers need to ensure they are devoting resources to processes that will get them the most yield from their crops. Precision agriculture means embracing technology to run farms more efficiently and effectively.

Precision agriculture aims to create a technical ecosystem that supports soil health and productivity to meet crop requirements for growers. Precision agriculture systems combine hardware and software tools like sensors, GPS and GIS tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions, advanced analytics, and much more. These tools work together to help farmers manage and refine all aspects of agricultural production, from irrigation, to pesticide deployment, to zone management, and so much more.

When deployed correctly, precision agriculture tools help farmers run their fields—and their businesses—more efficiently, while minimizing labor costs and environmental impact.

The benefits of precision agriculture

Precision ag solutions provide a wealth of benefits to farmers. Let’s examine some of the key areas where precision agriculture makes an impact.

Increased profits

Precision agriculture solutions are one of the most cost-effective methods of achieving greater crop yields for growers. The increased efficiency that these solutions provide helps farmers get the most from their fields while driving down labor and resource costs. Bigger yields mean bigger profits, and with the increased cost savings, farmers that embrace precision ag solutions see big paydays. 

More sustainable farming practices

With the enhanced understanding that precision agriculture provides, farmers are able to direct resources to where they are needed most. For example, crop sensor technology can alert farmers that specific areas of their fields need additional water or pesticides. Instead of just blanketing their fields with these resources, farmers can target the areas where they will make the most impact. This reduces the negative effects of overuse associated with pesticide deployment and irrigation, resulting in more environmentally-friendly and sustainable farming practices.

Better agronomic understanding

Precision agriculture technology gives farmers an unparalleled understanding of their soil. All fields are not created equal, and therefore every farm has its own unique set of nutrient requirements for its soil. Precision ag solutions help farmers get full visibility into the health of their soil, so they know where and when to provide the right nutrients that will guarantee a good harvest.

How to implement precision agriculture technology

As discussed above, no two farms are alike. This means that farmers have their own unique sets of requirements—and desired outcomes—for precision ag solutions. The first step in the process of implementing these solutions is to fully articulate your goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to generate bigger profits? Run your farm more sustainably? Better understand your soil health? Determine what your ideal farm will look like.

Then, consider what tools are necessary to help you achieve these goals. Precision agriculture encompasses many different types of technology, so you’ll need to determine which tools will help you achieve success. An established ag tech consulting firm like Codal can help you determine what hardware and software solutions will work best for your unique circumstances. 

Finally, we come to the implementation phase. It’s important to recognize that, like many other aspects of farming, the results of implementing precision ag solutions are not immediate. It will take some time—and some smart adjustments—to see precision agriculture technology achieving its desired results. But when it does, your farm will experience the power of digital transformation.

Wrapping up

The agricultural industry has gone digital. Empowered by cutting-edge precision agriculture technologies, more and more growers are seeing their farms run more efficiently and sustainably—and seeing significant increases in profits as well. Precision ag ecosystems are revitalizing an age-old profession and helping more farmers keep up with the growing demand for quality food.
Interested in learning more about Codal’s precision agriculture and ag tech solutions? Get in touch today.

Chris Powers
AUTHOR

Chris Powers

Chris is a Content Marketing Specialist at Codal. With a background in journalism and marketing, Chris has written about a variety of tech topics, including open source, fintech, and cybersecurity. Chris loves taking on new challenges with just a pen, paper, and his brain.

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