Geospatial data improves the performance of agriculture

CLIMATE CHANGE - 01-02-2018

CAPIGI 2018 focusses on Performance Agriculture: a new paradigm in farming where economic benefits are matched by environmental and climate benefits. 

The focus in agriculture is shifting: Until recently, innovations were primarily favoured on their economic benefit. But a new trend is emerging. Farmers, consumers, retail and other stakeholders in the food production are desiring clean and green production technologies with lower footprints and positive contributions to climate mitigation. The way forward is by introducing new technologies and practices that take better care of the heterogeneity within and between fields. The fast growing digitisation in the farm’s office and in the machinery creates fertile ground for geospatial technologies such as GNSS based machine guidance, site-specific treatments and variable rate application of fertilizer and other inputs based on dedicated prescription maps. These prescription or task maps are often based on soil scans or crop scans made by satellites or drones.

The really interesting point of these geospatial technologies is that they are a win-win: The efficiency gain results in lower costs and lower environmental impact: magnitudes of 10-30% environmental gains on soil quality, crop protection agent or fertilizer spills and greenhouse gas emissions are reported in different experiments and living labs. Read for instance this interesting recent article on the contribution of precision agriculture technologies to improve the climate performance of farming.