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What is Precision Agriculture?

In this article you will learn all about precision agriculture. Specifically you will learn: 

  • What exactly is precision agriculture? 
  • What are the features of precision agriculture? 
  • Who are the main precision agriculture companies? 
What is Precision Agriculture and How is Technology Enabling it?
Source

What exactly is precision agriculture and why is it important? 

Precision agriculture was a term that first became popular in the 1990's. Precision farming is defined as: 

Any technology which helps the practice of farming be more accurate and controlled when it comes to growing crops and raising livestock

- Remi Schmaltz

Farming in general has 2 major challenges: 

1) Farming is labor intensive - it requires a lot of people to grow, harvest, and manage

2) Farming is land intensive - it (usually) requires a lot of space

Precision agriculture uses technology to increase efficiency specifically in these 2 challenge areas. How can technology help reduce reliance on people to solve problems and reduce the need for large amounts of space to be a successful business? This requires certain technology features and tools, which you will learn about in the next section! 

Digital Technologies in Agriculture: adoption, value added and overview |  by Ivanov Igor | Gamaya blog | Medium
Source

What are the features of precision agriculture? 

Precision agriculture uses specific types of technology to reduce common challenges in agriculture like space inefficiency and labor inefficiency. Technologies used include: 

  • GPS - can help guide machinery like tractors without manual navigation with drivers. GPS can also be used to sample soil nutrient levels.
  • Sensors - can help understand environmental factors such as humidity and light in specific areas of a growing field or space
  • Robotics - using machines to accomplish tasks that people would normally perform. For example, harvesting or packing products.
  • Drones - Inspect large areas of space faster and from angles that were not previously viable
  • Variable Rate Technology - Using input data from other components like GPS or sensors to change the rate of inputs like water or fertilizer

Oftentimes, these different components will be used in combination to increase efficiency. For example, data from sensors in an indoor farming facility may guide the actions of a robot. Drones scanning a large field may send data to irrigation systems to increase or decrease flow depending on the humidity of different areas of the field.

What is Precision Agriculture? Here Are 10 Examples
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Who are the top Precision Agriculture Companies? 

Since precision ag has been around for so long, both small players and large companies have developed and offer solutions to the global marketplace. Notable precision agriculture companies include: 

  1. Mothive: Making farms visible and predictable across the supply chain
  2. CropX: Precision Ag Company guiding the world into the era of "connected soil" 
  3. Arable: World's first IoT enabled irrigation management tool
  4. Ceres Imagery: Company that focuses on aerial imaging
  5. Gamaya: Early detection of disease, pests, and plant stress
  6. Agridata: Digitizing agriculture by providing farmers with the information that they need
  7. AgroWatcher: Using computer vision to identify water stress, pests, infestation, and diseases
  8. AgEagle: Drone-enabled technology for imaging
  9. Precision Hawk: fully autonomous flying vehicles performing low altitude data collection
  10. Aker Technology: An agriculture data company providing crop intelligence and in-season analytics

Interested to learn more about precision agriculture and it's applications in the supply chain? Join our newsletter below, our view our other related articles! 

“If urbanvine.co had existed when I got into Vertical Farming back in 2012, I'd have saved 3 years in that quest to learn it!”

Mark-Horler
- Zjef Van Acker, Former Chief Engagement Officer, Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) 

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Hank van Apeldoorn, Urban Vine Co Subscriber

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