Utilising precision agriculture for better agronomic decisions
Author: Quenten Knight. Agronomy Focus | Date: 19 Feb 2019
Take home messages
- Precision agriculture does not need to be complicated — keep it simple and use appropriate data layers to guide your agronomic decisions.
- Establish a good relationship with third party data processors — your strength is agronomy, not geographical information systems (GIS) and dealing with raw data — focus on practical agronomic solutions.
- Limit the amount of precision agriculture software you use — keep it simple.
- Precision agriculture is not always precise — do not get bogged down in too much detail.
- It is essential to ground truth data — precision agriculture cannot be implemented entirely with only desktop analysis — it requires boots on the ground to validate and avoid failure.
Having been involved with precision agriculture for nearly 20 years, I have seen it continually evolve, however its adoption is still much lower than one would expect for many reasons.
In this presentation, I would like to demonstrate how I use various precision agriculture data sources to guide better agronomic decisions with my clients.
I am a consulting agronomist first and foremost and by no means a precision agriculture or GIS specialist, however I have developed very good third-party relationships for the provision of software, data processing and machinery implementation. These relationships allow my clients and I to access the tools and data to provide practical, profitable agronomic solutions from a multitude of data sources.
The data sources I use on a daily basis are:
- Satellite imagery (Satamap).
- Google Earth Pro.
- Yield data.
- Gamma radiometrics.
- Digital elevation models.
- Georeferenced soil test data.
Soil amelioration is the major focus in using precision agriculture for better agronomic solutions. For example:
- Variable rate gypsum.
- Variable rate lime.
- Deep ripping zones.
- Clay spreading and clay delving zones.
- Variable rate potassium.
- Surface water management (drainage).
Crop scouting and ground truthing are other important aspects of precision agriculture and the ability to bring these data into the paddock on mobile devices with GPS navigation. Satellite imagery, yield data and soil test data are incredibly valuable for this purpose.
Utilising precision agriculture is a natural progression for making better agronomic decisions. The amount of data available is increasing and largely the cost is decreasing. Our challenge as agronomists and advisers is not to become GIS experts, but rather play to our strengths and use processed data in easy to use software programs to deliver practical, profitable agronomic solutions to our clients, coupled with thorough ground truthing and grower knowledge.
Was this page helpful?