Experts worldwide agree that sustainable agriculture is no longer an option; it’s necessary. To achieve this, precision agriculture for sustainable agriculture is growing in scope.
Agriculture continues to be an essential industry in the lives of billions around the globe. Yet, sustainable agriculture is of great importance for farmers, agribusiness, and all society.
What exactly is sustainable agriculture? This form of agriculture considers environmental stewardship, the responsible use and protection of our environment through renewable, long-term practices both to enhance our ecosystem and enhance human well-being.
This approach to agriculture focuses on:
A healthy environment
This is essential for our earth’s natural processes to continue to meet society’s needs not only now but for future generations to come.
While caring for the environment, these sustainable methods of agriculture must prove to be economically viable to ensure the producer will put these methods into practice for the long term.
Social and economic equity
Sustainable agriculture plays a role in ending hunger and poverty, an important issue in modern society. It includes better quality of living for both farmers and the community as a whole.
As the world’s population continues to grow, there is no doubt that sustainable agriculture is non-negotiable, but getting farmers to switch to sustainable farming is not without its challenges. So, how can farmers be helped to change to sustainable agriculture and achieve all three of the above-stated objectives?
Farmers are turning to data analytics and digital farming technologies in precision agriculture for sustainable agriculture because the world’s future food security depends on it.
Precision agriculture for sustainable agriculture
Precision agriculture is the sustainable way forward in agriculture. What exactly is precision agriculture? It is the management strategy that uses data analytics and digital farming technologies to help the producer know precisely what crops need, when they need it, and where.
Producers using these precision methods become familiar with agricultural products and know the exact combination of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to use on their crops. This results in reduced waste and minimizes environmental loading. The overuse of natural resources such as water and seed is also prevented.
Some methods of precision agriculture for sustainable agriculture include:
This software allows a farmer to keep his machinery on track as he makes his passes in the field. This efficient operation reduces overlap while tilling, planting, spraying, and harvesting resulting in more efficient use of time, labor, materials, and fuel.
This technology allows farmers to disperse fertilizer, water, pesticides, or seed at different rates across a field. Data collected by sensors and maps help farmers determine these application rates. By using all technologies available to them, such as GPS, crop sensors, soil sensors, and yield monitors, farmers can reduce the use of unnecessary materials while increasing productivity.
This gives farmers the ability to apply the right amount of water to different areas of their fields. Using the precise amount of needed inputs, such as water, directly to the roots maximizes the yields and saves water. It also prevents the leaching of fertilizer and pesticides into adjacent water sources, a problem often caused by overwatering.
Automatic section control
This technology automatically turns off boom sections as they pass over already treated areas of the field. This will lead to savings on seed and planter efficiency and increased planter visibility during harvest, leading to greater field efficiency.
This method uses real-time monitoring of equipment such as location tracking and idling to help farmers better utilize their machines. This data allows farmers to know the operating costs of their machinery, allowing them to make better decisions on its long-term use and discover inefficiencies that can be corrected, resulting in better productivity. Insight into where farm vehicles, assets, and workers are at all times is essentially extending the life span of these valuable assets.
These methods of precision agriculture meet all the objectives of sustainable agriculture. First and foremost, environmental stewardship is the basis for precision agriculture. The protection and wise use of finite natural resources such as water, soil, and phosphorus and minimizing the ecological loading of chemicals used in pesticides are crucial factors behind this technology.
Secondly, the use of this technology results in higher profitability for farmers in the form of reduced use of inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and pesticides. Precision agriculture is also known as “site-specific crop management” because the data used enables a farmer to optimize his specific fields and crop type to gain maximum productivity, which results in further profitability.
Finally, the enhanced agricultural methods brought to the table by precision agriculture result in a better quality of life for farmers and farm laborers. This technology also enables better farmland management and, in turn, an increased supply of agricultural products, which is a step in the right direction in the fight to end hunger. It is clear that precision agriculture has a positive impact on sustainable agriculture.
Technology – An essential aspect of sustainable agriculture
To switch to sustainable farming, more is required than simple input substitution. Enhanced management that promotes sustainability, nourishes the environment, improves the community and the individuals whose lives depend on agriculture is essential.
Now, in 2022, agriculture is undeniably about data analytics and technology more than ever before. Numerous studies on the topic speak for themselves, proving the benefits to the environment and society. Therefore, it is time to embrace technology in agriculture fully – it is helping farmers meet the challenges of modern-day agriculture, and its use in precision agriculture is the only sustainable way forward in agriculture.
With sustainable agriculture in mind, DTN gathers relevant, accurate, real-time data so agribusinesses can have what they need to do their job. In addition, DTN keeps you informed wherever you go with mobile news content and independent market commentary so you can stay up to date in the industry.
The value of reading the market and making confident, unerring recommendations is immeasurable. You can be sure that producers will keep coming back to you once their trust is gained with your accurate data-supported recommendations that result in increased yields and profits.