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What is Precision Agriculture?

John K. Schueller
Agricultural and Horticultural Production

Inputs
Fertilizer, Pesticides, Labor, etc.
Outputs
Quantity, Quality
Complications to Simple Input--Output

Stochastic (Random) Weather


Temporal (Time) Season Progression
Spatial (Location) Spatial Variability
Managing According to Spatial Variability

Many Names
Site Specific Crop Management
Spatially-Variable Crop Production
Managing According to Spatial Variability

Many Names
Site Specific Crop Management
Spatially-Variable Crop Production

John Deere --- Precision Farming


=> Precision Agriculture
Citrus Antecedent Agronomic Crops

Yield and Soil Mapping


Variable Rate Applications

mid-1980s: Development and Experimentation


1990s: Commercial Products, Millions of Acres
Citrus Antecedent Animal Agriculture

Individual Production Records


Individual Breeding, Feeding, and Culling
Citrus Synthesis

Plant:
Like Agronomic

Multiyear and Individual Production Unit:


Like Animal
Precision Agriculture is NOT Technology

It is a Management Philosophy to
Respond to Spatial Variability.
Precision Agriculture is NOT Technology

It is a Management Philosophy to
Respond to Spatial Variability.

But Technology Makes It Possible


Precision Agriculture Steps:

1. Determine Variability
2. Determine Cause
3. Determine Possible Actions
4. Determine Economics of Actions
5. Implement Profitable Actions

REPEAT
Measuring Variability

Techniques
Manual
During Field Operations
Remote Sensing
QuickBird 2.4 meter satellite image, draped over DEM
ACIR photography, 0.17-meter scanned (close-up). Note Geolocation
target (circled in yellow).
Measuring Variability

Techniques
Manual
During Field Operations
Remote Sensing
Variability of
Soils (type, fertility, )
Trees (size, vigor, yield, quality, )
Pests (weeds, insects, disease, )
Strategic Responses to Variability

Grove and Block Boundaries


Landforming and Layout
Irrigation Layout
Rootstock and Scion
Resetting and Abandonment

Permanent, One-Time Costs


Often Lower Technology
Tactical Responses to Variability

Variable-Rate Fertilizer and Pesticides


Spatially-Variable Irrigation
Spatial Harvest and Marketing

Good Technology and Management Needed


Line of sight radio-modem
The sensor network allows creating
surface graphs showing the spatial
and temporal variation in soil water
matric potential (soil moisture).

Differences of water mobility in soil


can be observed and can help on
better adjusting the site-specific
irrigation control.
Lessons Learned in Agronomic
Uniform Production is NOT the Goal
Often Cut Fertilizer Where Poor Yields
Water is Most Important
Technology Must Fit Operations
Economic Potential Must Be Present
Lessons Learned in Agronomic

Uniform Production is NOT the Goal


Often Cut Fertilizer Where Poor Yields
Water is Most Important
Technology Must Fit Operations
Economic Potential Must Be Present

Risk Reduction
Environmental Demands
What is Precision Agriculture?
Philosophy of Handling Spatial Variability
Tradition Technologies
Variability Mapping
Variable Inputs

Related Technologies
Labor Management
Remote Sensing
Robotics
Traceability