The Globalization Of Precision Agriculture

Like the purported Chinese curse ‘may you live in interesting times,’ precision agriculture today is faced with many hurdles, twists and turns. These challenges I would argue are partly due to the “globalization” of precision agriculture.

This globalization is happening on several fronts. The first and foremost is economic. The world is once again in financial turmoil even while recovering from the Great Recession of 2008. There are new fears that some industrialized Western Countries will default on their loans and other debts. With each new round of borrowing, the credit ratings of these countries will suffer and even the safest of investments may be viewed as risky. In this bleak economic picture, the agricultural community, including both private and government entities, may become very conservative financially and may not be inclined to invest in new innovations. Precision agriculture as a nascent technical field strives on innovation and therefore could be negatively affected by this conservative fiscal posture.

The second front is the worldwide agricultural land rush. This investment in land is an off-shoot of the troubled economic picture. Global hedge funds, leery of erratic stock market performance, are turning to agriculture property as a “safe bet.” The logic is simple for this investment strategy. There are currently about seven billion people in the world with a projected population increase to about nine billion by 2040. This increase means there will be 28% more mouths to feed in just 30 years. Undoubtedly, the price for commodities will continue to be high with the increasing demand for food stocks. Even with technical advances, which will be discussed later, more land will certainly need to be cultivated to ensure an adequate food supply for future populations. Therefore, investment in arable land is an investment in food, which will be in greater demand with a growing population in the decades ahead. This rush for agricultural land by investment firms requires management tools for guiding efficient and cost-effective production. These tools will increasingly rely on precision agriculture technology.

The GMO Factor

The worldwide distribution of crops as genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is the third front in the globalization of precision agriculture. GMO seed, with its many stacked traits that deliver desirable plant qualities and embed resistance to pests, chemicals and drought, are replacing conventional hybrids on every continent. While grains have been the popular target for genetic enhancements, other crops are being considered to increase yield and quality. The success of genomic crops relies on their proper selection for geography and practices and for their seeding population. GPS-guided planters, with their ability to precisely place seed, are able to ensure proper plant populations. Precision seed planting is, of course, on outgrowth of precision agriculture.

The movement towards larger farms supported by universal equipment and production practices is the fourth front in the globalization of precision agriculture. Like GMO seed, this global movement towards similar equipment and practices is almost exclusively with grain crops. As corporations invest in large-acreage farms, there is a tendency to gain efficiency by streamlining operations through the employment of large equipment, such as tractors, and the implementation of time-tested practices. With the aid of guidance systems, controllers and software, these tractors can carry out variable-rate seed and chemical applications in favorable environmental windows at all hours of the day. This trend in the use of universal equipment and practices is ideal for the proliferation of precision agriculture technologies worldwide.

Setting Standards

Piggybacking on the use of universal equipment and production practices is the desire for global industry standards, which is the fifth front in the globalization of precision agriculture. Initially spearheaded by the International Organization of Standardization out of Europe, countries around the world are beginning to move towards national standards in the design of equipment, the conversion of data between devices, the communication of data between computers and in the look and feel of decision-support software. These standards include the building of a glossary of terms, data dictionaries, data transfer formats and communication protocols. The AgGateway organization in the U.S. has recently expanded its role as a clearinghouse for standards in the agricultural community. Standards are absolutely critical to the long-term success of any technology. In the case of precision agriculture, standards eliminate the need for many organizations to populate and maintain the same kinds of databases. They foster the exchange of proprietary data between equipment in mixed fleets and ensure the proper sharing of data between different software programs. Most importantly, standards make life easier and simpler for growers as end users of precision agriculture technology.

The globalization of precision ag has special relevance to this PrecisionAg Special Reports issue, which looks at “Top Tech Trends.” The more worldwide exposure there is to the new precision ag technologies, the more likely these technologies will be adopted in all corners of the globe. This exposure is especially important in difficult economic times. Like the technology it represents, precision agriculture will meet its challenges as it moves out globally and into the future.

Leave a Reply

Regions Stories
Tomato-crop-India
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Horticulture
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision Agriculture
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Drone
EuropeUK: Robotic Farm Completes First Fully Autonomous Harvest
October 3, 2017
It’s harvest season in many parts of the world, but on one farm in the United Kingdom, robots — not Read More
Trending Articles
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Chatbot with your Plants?
September 26, 2017
(Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Technology at Agrilevante
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Latest News
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Ohio State
Data ManagementRecap: The Ohio State University Explores Ag Tech ROI a…
October 19, 2017
How do soybean producers begin to extract value from the vast selection of digital tools available in agriculture today? At Read More
Industry NewsAGCO, Climate Corp. Announce Digital Partnership
October 19, 2017
AGCO announced today a new digital partnership with The Climate Corp. that will provide AGCO customers the option to connect Read More
Industry NewsFieldReveal Inks Agreement with Texas Agronomy Outfit
October 19, 2017
FieldReveal has entered into an agreement with Ag Producers Cooperative of Dalhart, TX, to offer the full FieldReveal precision ag Read More
corn weather
Data ManagementSeasonal Weather Outlooks: High Risk Worth the Reward?
October 18, 2017
Often, when discussing weather service needs with a potential client, I am asked about the possibility of providing long-range weather Read More
Industry NewsAgDNA Announces Dealership Expansion
October 18, 2017
This week AgDNA surpassed their growth projections, announcing partnerships with eight new multi-store dealerships across the mid-west, mid-south and east Read More
Tomato-crop-India
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Hor…
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient …
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Precision Irrigation
Precision Irrigation4 Important Ways Precision Technology Is Impacting Irri…
October 12, 2017
Water management is becoming an increasing concern in agriculture, whether that’s dealing with too much or too little water. This Read More
DronesDroneLife: Global Ag Drone Industry Potentially Worth $…
October 12, 2017
Via DroneLife.com’s Jason Reagan: According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imag…
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Planet Labs satellite imagery
Industry NewsFarmers Edge, Planet Labs Announce Multi-Year Exclusive…
October 11, 2017
Farmers Edge announced today a strategic partnership to bring Planet’s best-in-class global monitoring platform to the Farmers Edge precision agriculture Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Ag Drone
Industry NewsBotlink, SST Announce Integration
October 6, 2017
Botlink has announced a seamless flow of actionable aerial data into the agX Platform. This integration makes it quick and Read More
corn field
Industry NewsEFC Purchases AgSolver Assets, Establishes New Sustaina…
October 6, 2017
EFC Systems announced it has purchased the assets of AgSolver Inc. The move establishes a new Agronomic Planning and Sustainabilty Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision A…
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Industry NewsClimate, West Central Distribution Join Forces on Phosp…
October 3, 2017
To help farmers improve productivity and return on their investment, West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation have teamed up Read More