Precision farming: produce more with less

Precision farming allow production optimization by using new technologies. The goal is to produce more or in a more efficient way by reducing resource consumption as much as possible.

The right dose, in the right place, at the right time… this sentence would almost be enough to define precision farming. Closely linked to digital technology and technological progress, this approach aims to optimize crop development, and therefore yields, by rationalizing resources, energy, and water. Goal is therefore to produce better with less, in order to move towards more sustainable agriculture. Precision farming is based on data collection and analysis, such as soil properties, topography, humidity, temperature, NDVI, etc. Data can be collected via sensors, satellites, or drones connected to mobile or web applications. Once collected, data is processed and analyzed by specialized software. Thanks to decision support tools, farmers can then make precise choices. For example, they can apply chemicals at the most opportune time, or adjust amount of inputs through intra-field modulation.

Optimize yield and production costs

Choosing precision farming means adapting agricultural practices to crop needs at an intra-field level. In fact, within the same field, many parameters can vary (biotic/abiotic stress experienced by crops, topography, soil composition, etc.). Therefore, crop needs differ from one area to another. This is where dose modulation comes in by using geo-referenced data and precision technologies. In addition, this cutting-edge agriculture allows farmers to maximize crop genetic potential. Therefore, farmers optimize, or even improve, their yields while limiting resource use. At the same time, they rationalize their production costs.

More precise, more sustainable!

Precision farming is an approach to sustainable agriculture with an environmental positive impact. By applying the right amount of inputs in the right place, farmers are de facto moving towards a more sustainable and reasoned agriculture. Their practices help to preserve water quality, as well as soil health, by preventing erosion, improving their structure, and maintaining their long-term fertility. This approach contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities by optimizing the use of agricultural machinery and reducing the consumption of chemical inputs (indirect impact).

The expert is the farmer

Even though it is intelligent, technology does not replace farmers experience and their advisors. Decision-making tools can give them recommendations, but final decision remain in the hands of the operators. They have the hindsight and expertise necessary to follow (or not) the recommendations. Precision farming may require some investment, which currently limits its access for some farmers. Additionally, data collection and management often require training. Nevertheless, these new technologies are becoming increasingly easy to use. With a minimum of support, precision agriculture is within everyone's grasp.

Autres sources :

  • Les Horizons « c’est quoi l’agriculture de précision ? »
  • Chambre d’agriculture Hauts de France « opter pour l’agriculture de précision »

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