Benefits of on Farm Soil and Mapping
Precision farming (PA) or satellite farming or site specific crop management (SSCM) is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.
The holy grail of precision agriculture research will be the ability to define a Decision Support System (DSS) for whole of farm management with the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources. The reality today is that seemingly simple concepts such the ability to define management zones, areas where different management practices will apply, for a single crop type on a single field over time is difficult to define.
The spatial and temporal behaviours of farm variability are key to defining amendment strategies that could be defined for farm use within a farm management plan. Precision agriculture (PA) has also been enabled by technologies like crop yield monitors mounted on GPS equipped machinery that assists in productivity improvement (see fact sheet 28).
One of the early reasons for low adoption of PA is the reluctance of farmers to invest many thousands of dollars in PA without knowing if the technology will return a profit. Soil mapping costs and precision agriculture has reduced in cost to a point where the benefits far outweigh any investment.
Many studies have been undertaken globally, including Australia, on precision agriculture that indicate benefits to the turf farmer in soil improvement; fertiliser use, labour reductions, increased yield, increased turf quality, less waste, improved water and energy efficiency as well as improving profitability.