Precision Farming or Precision Agriculture is generally defined as information and technology based farm management system to identify, analyse and manage spatial and temporal variability within fields for optimum productivity and profitability, sustainability and protection of the land resource by minimizing the production costs. Increasing environmental consciousness of the general public is necessitating us to modify agricultural management practices for sustainable conservation of natural resources such as water, air and soil quality, while staying economically profitable. The use of inputs (i.e. chemical fertilizers and pesticides) based on the right quantity, at the right time, and in the right place. This type of management is commonly known as “Site-Specific Management”. The productivity gain in global food supply have increasingly relied on expansion of irrigation schemes over recent decades, with more than a third of the world's food now requiring irrigation for production. All-together, market-based global competition in agricultural products is challenging economic viability of the traditional agricultural systems, and requires the development of new and dynamic production systems.

Aims of precision farming

The aim of precision, or site-specific, farming is to identify differences in soil characteristics and yield potential between areas within a field and to respond by modifying crop management practices accordingly. The precision farming cycle starts by identifying variability.

Basic components of precision farming

Technological development has resulted in an enormous scope of possibilities to achieve the abovementioned and farm more effectively. These technologies include:

  • Remote sensing technology,

  • Geo-mapping,

  • High precision positioning systems,

  • Automated steering systems,

  • Smart sensors and a range of IT-applications combined with high-tech engineering,

  • Integrated electronic communications

  • Variable rate technology.

1.Precision Soil preparation-

The impact of surface water management on crop yield is often overlooked. The key to management of waterlogging and erosion is detailed pictures of elevation across your field and/or farm. This is linked to soil type. Soil preparation can successfully be implemented after analyses of:

  • detailed soil survey maps, e.g. soil type and topography,

  • soil physical property maps, e.g. texture and plant available water capacity,

  • yield maps of the previous crop,

This will provide yield potential and management zones in your field/farm.

From these maps the correct agricultural practices and implements can be identified to achieve optimum results with soil preparation. Depending on the texture and topography, soil preparation is traditionally the most energy-consuming aspect of farming, requiring significant inputs of fuel and time. The wrong implement can increase the risk of erosion and crop failure.

2.Precision Seeding-

Critical factors to achieve higher yields with less seed is correct planting depth and proper row spacing. Combined with geo-mapping, this can ensure:

  • More seeds are planted in soil with high yield potential

  • Less seeds are planted in low yield potential areas

  • Effective variable rate application (VRT) of fertiliser

Fast and uniform germination ensures a crop of high yield and optimum use of resources. It is thus important to consider soil and climate properties as well as tillage practices in relation to planter properties to ensure that the planter is equipped with technology to ensure effective and accurate planting during the optimum planting window.

3.Precision Crop Management-

During this phase plants need:

1. the right amount of top-dressing at the right time, an