Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash

Also see the “Digital agriculture”, “Drones”, “Mapping” and “Agricultural media and ICT” pages.

Introduction

Precision farming utilises six ultra-modern technologies:

  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which provides a navigation system to establish a position of a tractor or combine anywhere in a land within less than 2 meters on a latitude-longitude grid overlay.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – GIS Computers capture, manage and analyse spatial data related to crop productivity and field inputs.
  • Variable Rate Technology (VRT), which provides “on-the-fly” control of field inputs.
  • Optical satellite imagery – provides real-time monitoring of crop development and anomalies due to variation in soil potential, physical or climatic variables, pest and diseases, or nutrient deficiencies.
  • Satellite Imagery and Aerial Imagery
  • Near Infra Red (NIR) Ortho rectified Imagery. This is becoming a very important technology – initially with timber and wine farmers but spreading to all farmers.

Information derived from these technologies allows farmers to:

  • apply inputs such as fertilisers and seed at variable rates exactly where they are needed
  • make more efficient use of these inputs

Precision Farming promotes good stewardship of the land for future generations, and preserves its potential for multiple uses.

At a time when the farmer is faced by decreasing profit margins and changing climates, precision farming is a smart way to farm.

"Precision Agriculture Solutions" (Inter-American Development Bank, 2017) provides an introduction ...

Autonomous tractors and robots

See the “Digital agriculture” page.

Role players

Companies

Note: Click to expand the headings below.  To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order here. Disclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

Electrolee www.electrolee.co.za Monitor the flow of seed, fertiliser and axle rotation.
The Awareness Company https://awarenesscompany.co.za HYDRA FarmSecurity combines Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics and sensors that allows for the tracking of livestock.
MiX Telematics https://mixtelematics.com/za/ Monitor farm machines and equipment to better manage operations
Representative Bodies
Training, Consulting & Research Service Providers
Agricultural Research Council (ARC)-Soil, Climate and Water (SCW) www.arc.agric.za The ARC-Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-SCW) has a section focusing on precision farming research and implementation.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Advanced Agriculture and Food Cluster – www.csir.co.za/advanced-agriculture-and-food Precision farming and digital components (drones, GIS, big data analytics etc) are a focus.
Agrilux www.agrilux.co.za Accurate precision farming soil analyses and recommendations
Community, NGO and NPO Service Providers

Further reference:

Training and research

  • Companies involved supply training in their products. Find their details under “Companies”.
  • The Agricultural Colleges, universities and short course providers listed on the “Agricultural education and training” page are involved with precision farming.

Other role players

  • Climate monitoring systems can halve the use of water for farmers. Find companies who offer weather services in “Weather and climate”.
  • South African National Space Agency (Sansa)www.sansa.org.za
  • Read about the Enhancing Food Security in African AgriCultural Systems with the support of Remote Sensing (AfriCultuReS) project on the website or at www.africultures.eu.

Websites and publications

Refer to the websites listed earlier on this page. See also the many articles on the “Digital Agriculture” and “Drones” pages.

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