SoilOptix® Blog

Exploring How Precision Agriculture in the USA Prioritizes Innovation in Farming  

Precision agriculture technology has become one of the most popular research fields worldwide. Science continuously looks for more efficient ways to improve how we feed the world. Various technological aspects of precision farming utilize real-time data and software analytics to increase the overall efficiency of production agriculture, enhance profit margins, and reduce environmental impact.

Precision agriculture in the USA is laser-focused. It divides a large plot of land into smaller parcels and evaluates crop and soil conditions. In turn, it uses automated machine functions, like auto-steer, variable rate, and section control, to place the right inputs at the right amounts in suitable locations. In short, precision farming does precisely what its name implies. It empowers farmers to diagnose what their crops and soils need and apply the appropriate solutions in the amounts and locations required to protect their crops and maintain their yield. Precision farming does more with much less and is a realistic solution for countries worldwide.

Two Main Facets of Precision Farming:

  • Collect, analyze, plan, and execute:

Data collection is the heart of precision farming. Many different types of data can be collected and spatially analyzed, including soil fertility, planter performance, application rates, crop health, crop yield, and machine performance, to name a few. These data sets are like a puzzle piece, showing the history and depicting what happens during the cropping season. We can analyze what worked well and what didn’t from these data sets and then create and execute that plan during the following season. The process starts and continues each year, improving what we do yearly.

  • Machine automation:

With the many different sensors available and the use of specialized computers and GPS technology, precision farming can automate many factors of field operations. A few examples include auto-steer, planter row clutch control, variable rate application, and sprayer boom height control. All of these examples help increase operator efficiency, reduce operator fatigue and errors, and reduce excess inputs.

Precision agriculture in USA

Source: Freepik

Precision Agriculture Use Cases:

Solutions in this segment use less land, water, herbicides and pesticides to optimize and streamline output through a range of technologies:

  • GPS allows farmers to plant crops in a more precise way, saving time and energy while maximizing yield and operational efficiency
  • Real-time data monitoring techniques collect predictive information for accurate planting choices.
  • Drones not only inform farming management decisions and monitor crop yields, but are used to automate the spraying of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Proximal soil sensing technologies measure chemical and physiological variables within the soil.
  • Farm bots assist with precision planting, pulling weeds and monitoring pests.

Smart Farming Using Data-Driven Decisions:

When farmers get their reports, they can make well-informed data-driven management decisions. The reports subdivide a bigger farm into smaller homogeneous zones based on the variations in crop performance. These zones can be used to provide the correct and optimum levels of inputs.

For example, biomass analysis can check for emergence success. The software demarcates the field based on the emergence percentage. It uses colour codes to divide the farm so a grower can identify areas that require replanting and the extent of investment they need to make. By replanting only wherever necessary, they cut down the costs.

Similarly, when the analysis shows areas of stress, the farmer knows which area to scout to identify the cause is. Once that is completed, they can prepare prescription maps and apply the treatments where necessary using VRA. This ensures that input use is optimized and the costs are cut at each stage of the crop cycle.

In Conclusion:

The prospects for precision agriculture in the USA are bright, driven by the rising desire among agriculture practitioners to embrace these innovative tools. Globally, 39% of farmers have adopted or are willing to adopt at least one farming technology. Among the most favoured ones for adoption are management software, the precision agriculture hardware, and remote sensing.

Precision farming is a comprehensive system that goes beyond traditional farming methods, starting with crop planning and extending throughout the entire agricultural duration, including post-harvest processing.

If you are looking for expert help or have any questions about precision agriculture, contact our experts at SoilOptix® today!