Precision Ag Technology

It is creating some very good outcomes, as reported by The Farmer.

An excerpt.

“Farmers make huge investments in precision ag technology for various reasons. To improve profitability and yields is key.

“Environmental benefits also come into play as consumption of chemicals, fuel, fertilizer and energy is decreased.

“Farmers make huge investments in precision ag technology for various reasons. To improve profitability and yields is key.

“Environmental benefits also come into play as consumption of chemicals, fuel, fertilizer and energy is decreased.

“To provide a baseline in quantifying environmental benefits of U.S. precision agriculture, a new study conducted by four agricultural organization looked at the impact of selected precision ag technologies on productivity and use of fossil fuel, water, fertilizer and herbicide.

“The study was shared during a virtual session March 4 at Commodity Classic. Representatives of the organizations that partnered on the study offered a panel discussion. They were Curt Blades with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Kellie Bray with CropLife America, Nicole Hasheider with the National Corn Growers Association, and Ariel Wiegard with the American Soybean Association.

“The study looked at five precision ag technologies — autoguidance, machine section control, variable rate, machine and fleet analytics, and precision irrigation. It also considered a range of crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, wheat, sorghum, tubers, sugarbeets, hay and alfalfa.

“Here is a synopsis of the panel discussion.

“Productivity. Over the last 18 years, growth in yields has coincided with widespread adoption of precision ag technologies, Wiegard said. Productivity has increased an estimated 4% overall with current precision ag adoption. With broader adoption by farmers, productivity could increase another 6%. As productivity increases, land for production decreases. Higher productivity and precision ag adoption could save an estimated 10.2 million acres from cultivation.

“Fertilizer. As farmers followed the 4R’s of nutrient management — applying the right source at the right rate, right time and right place — efficiencies increased. One example Bray cited is how a central Illinois family farm, on average, decreased fertilizer costs per acre by $67 while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15%.

“Precision ag technologies have improved fertilizer efficiency by 7% and have the potential to improve efficiencies to 14% with broader adoption.

“Herbicide. Herbicide use has been reduced by an estimated 9% with current improved precision ag practices. It could be reduced another 15% with greater precision ag adoption, Bray said.

“An estimated 30 million pounds of herbicide was avoided due to the adoption of precision ag technologies,” she said. “An estimated 48 million pounds of additional herbicide could be avoided with broader adoption.”

“Fossil fuels. Fossil fuel use has declined an estimated 6% with current precision ag adoption, and it has the potential to further be lowered 16% at full precision ag adoption. That’s an estimated 100 million gallons of fossil fuel not used — or roughly the equivalent of 93,000 cars off the road or 18,000 flights annually, Bray said.”

Retrieve April 9, 2021 from The precision ag payoff (farmprogress.com)

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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