Digital and precision agriculture encompasses a range of innovations and techniques designed to make farming more accurate and controlled.
This includes using digital tools such as GPS guidance, control systems, sensors and robotics.
Just as consumers have become accustomed to digital tools helping us in our daily lives, with smartwatches measuring our heart rates or voice-activated speakers playing our favourite songs – farmers too are increasingly relying on software that can make their lives easier, through analysing data and providing them with meaningful insights. These tools can be particularly helpful when deciding on whether to use plant protection products (PPPs) and when to use them. Digital tools can allow them to apply PPPs at the right time, the right place and with the right amount.
Images from satellites and drones can be used to provide vital information on the health of plants in the field. For example, healthy plants which have higher biomass content might be shown in a green colour, while plants impacted by pests or diseases can be shown in yellow or red alerting the farmer that action has to be taken. In addition to satellite and drone imagery, sensors on state-of-the-art tractors, harvesters and other connected devices provide information on the soil type and condition, as well as water and nutrient availability.
What makes digital tools especially attractive to farmers is their versatility. Because no two farms are alike, a “one-size-fits-all” approach cannot possibly address the many variables that exist across fields, or even within a field.