Sustainability and Precision Agriculture
Precision agriculture (PA) can aid in the environmentally friendly control of crop production inputs. PA can assess fertilizer, seed and chemicals levels for soil and other conditions by means of site-specific knowledge. PA combines tangible sources with information and knowledge. A review of the literature shows that PA will lead to the long-term sustainability of production farming in many respects, and reinforces the intuitive notion that PA can minimize environmental pressure by using fertilizers and pesticides only where necessary. Environmentally friendly agriculture has a more concentrated use of inputs, reduced losses caused by excesses and reduced losses due to fertilizer imbalances, yoked exhaustion, insect damage, etc. Other advantages are reducing the development of pesticide resistance. One drawback of the articles analyzed is that few specifically measured environmental indices, such as soil sensor leaching. Mainly the environmental benefits were indirectly estimated by measuring lower chemical load. Results of an on-farm experiment in Argentina provide an example of how site details and the use of variable rates could be used to sustain productivity while reducing N applications. Results of sensitivity analyses show that for a wide range of restrictions on N applications PA is a modestly more profitable alternative to field administration. Such limitations could include government regulations to recognize the landowner's environmental management. For example, the variable rate of N retains the agricultural productivity even when nitrogen is limited to less than half the standard amount prescribed.