Sustainability And Precision Ag: On Parallel Paths

One could argue that precision agriculture and sustainability have followed similarly winding evolutional paths over their respective histories. While the term “precision agriculture” has remained unchanged and largely unchallenged since its use became popular in the late 1990s, how it is defined has evolved significantly.

Precision agriculture’s original focus was on variable rate fertility practices, but an economic downturn caused a rash of abandonment by farmers in the early 2000s. The proliferation of automatic steering and high accuracy GPS quickly reenergized the market, but it was mainly about efficiency and logistics rather than improved agronomy. Today, with wireless data transfer and increasing computing power, combined with growing compatibility among brands of equipment, precision ag is moving closer to delivering more holistic benefits to agriculture.

“We were saying it 20 years ago and it is as right today as it ever was,” says Ron Milby, long time precision ag enthusiast, practitioner and integrator who is currently leading GROWMARK’s precision agriculture program. “To me, precision ag is an information-based, knowledge-driven system that utilizes site-specific technology to generate agronomic, economic and environmental benefits for the grower,” says Milby.

At the same time, the entire food production and distribution system is coming closer to a consensus about the key aspects of sustainability. Led by the Field To Market initiative (www.fieldtomarket.org), an impressive lineup of food retailers and manufacturers downstream, input manufacturers have thrown their support behind the initiative as a roadmap to sustainability. For more on the this and other sustainability initiatives, visit www.sustainabilityblueprint.org.

The maturing of precision ag and sustainability at the same time is fortuitous for agriculture. Sustainability models being forwarded by the food production industry are centered identifying the best production areas for key crops, verification of best practices through record keeping, and continuous improvement. All of these require accurate and complete data. The capabilities of improving precision agriculture equipment and software — pinpoint GPS accuracy, wireless data transfer and increasing equipment compatibility — will allow the crop production channel to meet the demands of rigorous sustainability regimens.

We asked two major agriculture associations, CropLife America and the American Soybean Association, to share their perspectives on how precision agriculture technology and sustainability have become intertwined, and how each provides value to their member organizations and agriculture at large.

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Farmer with iPad
Data ManagementRegaining Control Of Field Data
March 23, 2017
When it comes to creating and building value with farmer-customers, service providers today have new allies to support their efforts. Read More
Ag Tech GlobalFarmobile Continues Connecting the Dots, adds Buyer to Data Store
March 21, 2017
Farmobile announced today that Guy Carpenter, a global risk and reinsurance specialist, will purchase enhanced data sets to help optimize Read More
Ag Retailer and Growers with tablet WinField United
Data ManagementEliminating Human Error In Precision Ag Data Documentation
March 15, 2017
As precision ag consultants, we spend a lot of time working with clients to implement best management practices to acquire Read More
Dark Clouds Field
Data ManagementWhat Will The Weather Be Like This Growing Season?
March 7, 2017
By far, the most popular question I am asked at any agricultural conference is about the weather and how it Read More
Trending Articles
Downed Drone
DronesOpinion: The Agricultural Drone War Is Over, And They Lost
March 15, 2017
If you are late to the aerial imagery party and think that agricultural drones are the vehicle that are the Read More
Nebraska Farmer
Business ManagementA Right To Repair: Why Nebraska Farmers Are Taking On John Deere And Apple
March 10, 2017
There are corn and soy fields as far as the eye can see around Kyle Schwarting’s home in Ceresco, NE, Read More
Australia crop
Ag Tech GlobalMaking Precision Agriculture Work In Australia
March 6, 2017
Editor’s note: Reinder Prins is Market Development Manager for Cotton Growers Service in Wee Waa, NSW, Australia, where he is Read More
ScoutPro | ScoutPro
Decision Support Software17 Field Scouting Apps For Precision Agriculture
February 6, 2017
There are dozens of easy-to-use mobile apps that are ideal for every day field scouting tasks. From record keeping and Read More
John Deere Dealership
Business ManagementAg Retailer, Equipment Dealer Improve Service By Working Together
January 27, 2017
Some believe that in many aspects of life, timing is everything. Among those believers, please count Randy Bartholomew, Integrated Solutions Read More
Innovation SeriesPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 25, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Latest News
Farmer with iPad
Data ManagementRegaining Control Of Field Data
March 23, 2017
When it comes to creating and building value with farmer-customers, service providers today have new allies to support their efforts. Read More
Y-Drop 360 Yield
Tools & Smart EquipmentSplit Nitrogen Application: Where The 4Rs Get Real
March 23, 2017
When Illinois Grower Jeremy Wilson hit the farm conference circuit these past two years, one of his talks was always Read More
Hort TechSciFi in Ag: Robots Could Take Multi-Hybrid Planting Ne…
March 23, 2017
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Erich Eller ForeFront Ag Solutions with Ag Eagle-drone
Business ManagementForeFront Ag Solutions: Going Beyond The Averages
March 22, 2017
He’s flying essentially solo these days with business support from his wife Jennifer, but Erich Eller has big dreams for Read More
Ag Tech GlobalFarmobile Continues Connecting the Dots, adds Buyer to …
March 21, 2017
Farmobile announced today that Guy Carpenter, a global risk and reinsurance specialist, will purchase enhanced data sets to help optimize Read More
Valley Irrigation 8000 series corn
Hort TechValley Irrigation Now Exclusive OEM Provider of Trimble…
March 21, 2017
Valley Irrigation and Trimble announced that Valley Irrigation will become the exclusive OEM distributor of Trimble’s Irrigate-IQ precision irrigation solution, according Read More
Farmer Brad Hagen inspects cover crops
Business ManagementTop 5 Features Of A Good Sustainability Program
March 20, 2017
In a recent study, 60% of Iowa farmers agreed that their fertilizer dealers should do more to help them address Read More
Soil sampling Brazil
Ag Tech GlobalAn Overview Of Precision Ag In Brazil
March 17, 2017
Brazil is a huge player in international agriculture and precision farming is helping to increase productivity. With diverse crop production, Read More
Web Soil Survey soils map
Imagery/SensingCan The Web Soil Survey Help To Uncover Answers To Prec…
March 16, 2017
A farming magazine recently published an article of an interview of two experts discussing how understanding the topography of a Read More
Downed Drone
DronesOpinion: The Agricultural Drone War Is Over, And They L…
March 15, 2017
If you are late to the aerial imagery party and think that agricultural drones are the vehicle that are the Read More
Ag Retailer and Growers with tablet WinField United
Data ManagementEliminating Human Error In Precision Ag Data Documentat…
March 15, 2017
As precision ag consultants, we spend a lot of time working with clients to implement best management practices to acquire Read More
Curve Compensation ExactEmerge
ProfessionalsHow To Avoid Yield Loss Using Curve Compensation
March 15, 2017
Planting is often considered the most important step in a farming operation. For this reason, there have been many advancements Read More
IMPAC video
Hort TechHow Precision Agriculture Is Helping Farmers Win Over C…
March 14, 2017
“Your Food, Your Farmer” is a simple mantra, but one that resonates loudly with many of today’s consumers, writes Paul Read More
Brazil soil corn crop
Ag Tech GlobalA Precision Agriculture Project Starts With A Solid Fou…
March 13, 2017
I am a big fan of technologies in agriculture. I have become so impressed with the evolution of products and services Read More
Nebraska Farmer
Business ManagementA Right To Repair: Why Nebraska Farmers Are Taking On J…
March 10, 2017
There are corn and soy fields as far as the eye can see around Kyle Schwarting’s home in Ceresco, NE, Read More
Ag Tech GlobalCalifornia Ag Tech Outfit Releasing Internet-of-Crops P…
March 10, 2017
Centaur Analytics, a leading AgTech company that provides real-time, crops monitoring and protection solutions, today announced it has opened advanced registration for its Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
ProfessionalsTop 5 Reasons Why Ag Retailers Need To Lead The Way In …
March 8, 2017
Smack dab in the middle of Iowa, you will find Casey’s General Store headquarters. For those of you who have Read More
Corn close up
Decision Support SoftwareUX in Ag: What are we Trying to do?
March 8, 2017
As designers, we’ve always considered ourselves outsiders—the unbiased third party in the agriculture world, writes co-authors Kayla Byington and Nick Read More