SOYL's Technical Manager, Simon Griffin, attended the 9th International Conference on Precision Agriculture earlier this month, presenting 2 papers on SOYL's nitrogen management system using satellite imagery and the new GPS subsoiling service.
“The right amount, in the right place, at the right time in the right way” – The definition of Precision Agriculture. So said Prof Raj Khosla, organiser of the Conference held in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Keynote speakers, Dr. Joseph Berry (left), Dr. Simon Blackmore (right) and chair Dr. Raj Khosla (centre) open the conference.
The biennial conference is now well into its second decade so the opening theme was “where are we now?”
Over 400 scientists, farmers, crop consultants, service providers, equipment manufacturers and software developers from more than 40 countries convened to discuss this question and share their research, views, new technologies and opinions as to where Precision Agriculture will be going in the future.
Sessions presenting research results covered subject areas as diverse as the more “traditional” spatial variability in soils and nutrient mapping and the “newer” applications such as remote sensing for nitrogen management to the emerging Precision Ag methods such as precision conservation, bio fuels in Precision Ag and traceability. Other sessions covered guidance, autosteer and robotics, the economics of Precision Ag and the adoption of Precision Ag around the world.
So after 2 decades where are we now?
Site specific management certainly has an ever increasing number of users, remote sensing applications such as satellite imagery have matured into a useful tool. Further applications such as variable rate seeding, disease and pest mapping are starting to see uptake by the early adopters in the industry.
Dr. Joseph Berry in the keynote conference speech stated that Precison Agriculture was not just pretty maps but a set of new technologies and procedures that linked the maps to appropriate management actions. He sees this new approach as shifting the emphasis of agricultural research from the traditional plots to on-farm research that utilises the data now available from Precision Ag technologies such as yield mapping and “as applied” maps.
So the legacy of two decades of Precision Agriculture research?
A bit less “anytime, anyplace, anywhere” and a bit more “right time, right place, right location.”