The GPS (Global Positioning System) and GIS (Global Information System) have advanced quite well in last few years. These technologies combine the real-time data collection with accurate position information, enabling the efficient manipulation and analysis of large amounts of geospatial data. Most importantly, the technology is now available for the use of any mobile phone user with a GPS chip in it.
GPS is being used to achieve precision farming and enables farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, crop scouting, and yield mapping. GPS also allows farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness.
GPS is being used to correlate production techniques and crop yields with land variability. The correlation enables the farmers to develop the most effective soil/plant treatment strategies, hence enabling higher farm production. Today, farmers in developed countries use GPS mapping for more precise application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers; better control and dispersion of these chemicals are possible through precision agriculture, thus reducing expenses, producing a higher yield, and creating a more environmentally friendly farm.
Precision agriculture is about collecting timely geospatial information on soil-plant-animal requirements and prescribing and applying site-specific treatments to increase agricultural production and protect the environment. Farmers are now seeing benefits from micromanaging their fields. Precision agriculture is gaining popularity largely due to the introduction of high technology tools into the agricultural community that are more accurate, cost effective, and user friendly. Many of the new innovations rely on the integration of on-board computers, data collection sensors, and GPS time and position reference systems.
The benefits of precision agriculture are not only limited to the large farms with huge capital investments and experience with information technologies. There are inexpensive and easy-to-use methods and techniques that can be utilized by all farmers. Through the use of GPS, GIS, and remote sensing, information needed for improving land and water use can be collected. Farmers can achieve additional benefits by combining better utilization of fertilizers and other soil amendments, determining the economic threshold for treating pest and weed infestations, and protecting the natural resources for future use.
Farm equipment manufacturers have developed several GPS tools to help farmers and agribusinesses become more productive and efficient in their precision farming activities. Today, many farmers use GPS-derived products to enhance operations in their farming businesses. Location information is collected by GPS receivers for mapping field boundaries, roads, irrigation systems, and problem areas in crops such as weeds or disease. The accuracy of GPS allows farmers to create farm maps with precise acreage for field areas, road locations and distances between points of interest. GPS allows farmers to accurately navigate to specific locations in the field, year after year, to collect soil samples or monitor crop conditions.
Good farming planners use data collection devices with GPS for accurate positioning to map pest, insect, and weed infestations in the field. Pest problem areas in crops can be pinpointed and mapped for future management decisions and input recommendations.
Farm management software like farmNXT™ have features that help farmers with:
– Geo mapping Fields
– Mapping Yield
And relate them to:
– Soil samples
– Farming practices (such as application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers)
This analysis will help farmers adjust the farming practices to save cost on inputs and enhance the yield.