There are lots of buzzwords that fly through the ag world on a regular basis. Lately, one of the hot topics among growers is “precision farming.”
All farmers are precise and professional growers as a rule. But the official definition of precision farming takes successful farming up to a whole new level. Learn more about precision farming and how seed coatings boost efficiency and success, plus the different ways implementing precision ag tech approaches can improve profitability and yields.
What is precision farming?
Precision farming (also called precision agriculture) is a new wave of modern ag. It involves optimizing the smallest working parts of farming to improve and maximize the bigger picture more than ever before.
Since ancient times and up until recently, most commercial farming involved having growers generally used the same amounts of fertilizer, amendments, pesticides, herbicides, etc. applied uniformly throughout fields. Now, thanks to technological advancements, growers can determine if certain portions of acreage and fields would benefit from amendments, or not — and if yes, how much.
Does this acre need more nitrogen this year? More organic matter? Improved irrigation? Improved soil health? Precision farming can help answer these questions with the most precise answers— with seed coating technology playing a powerful role.
Precision agriculture can involve:
- Collecting and utilizing farm data
- Agricultural field mapping
- Soil testing and analyzing
- Satellite imaging and data harvesting
- Enhanced technology and labor (e.g. drone use)
- Advanced weather monitoring and prediction
- Seed pelleting and coating technology
- …and more
Why precision agriculture is important on all fronts
Producers of any type of crop—whether food or commodity—can operate on thin margins without the right tools, and without much room for change in their businesses to help with this. The precision farming approach, however, helps farmers heavily streamline their operations, squeezing in on the perfect use of inputs to increase crop quality, quantity, and profit (at the lowest cost to producers) which can then have significant impact on crop yield and profit margins.
Precision farming may collectively make up the most helpful and advantageous toolbox for mid to large scale growers. Here’s why:
It drops costly overhead for farmers.
Through various means of harvesting and analyzing data with precision ag technology, growers can use various data categories pertinent to their acreage and operations to cut down on costly inputs.
Some examples: soil testing extensively on different acres can show where inputs may be needed to correct certain nutrient deficiencies, and where they may not be needed whatsoever—as well as where cover crop plantings could be implemented. Field and geographical mapping in the same vein can likewise reveal areas of focus needed for improved (or downgraded) irrigation systems and input use.
It has a stronger environmental impact.
Reduced use of chemical inputs, thanks to precision ag tech, can lead to a stronger and more positive environmental impact. More health and diversity in wild areas near farms (thanks to reduced chemical use) can also bring benefits to farms such as natural pest predation, reduced weed pressure, and more.
Precision ag can also have positive benefits for soil health. This reaps long-term benefits for the farmer: further reduction of fertilizer and nutrient input needs, stronger drought resilience, and more. For mid to large scale regenerative farmers, regenerative techniques can go hand-in-hand with precision farming, as the latter can have a huge effect increasing the success of the former.
Successful yields and profits are dialed in more effectively than ever.
Without precision farming approaches, commercial production can be a lot like following a recipe without knowing the exact measurements you’ll need for the ideal (and most profitable) outcomes. Much of it still is like this today: the outcome can still be good without precision tools. But, as most farmers know, such outcomes can be unpredictable.
Think of precision farming tools— like soil testing, data analyzing, satellite mapping, and more— as methods that help you determine what exact measurements you’ll need for the recipe. This automatically improves predictability and control for the highest overall outcome of production, and increases the odds of success when it comes to optimal yield quality, quantity, and profit.
How seed coatings amplify precision farming success
Precision farming is the wave of the future in agriculture. That said, the ag world is still not “there” yet in honing the effectiveness of these tools to perfection on the market— or making these tools as widely available and affordable as they should be to most growers.
With any precision farming approach, however— new or old, developing or complete, etc.— pairing its effectiveness with seed coatings, encrustments, pelleting, etc. can be a huge stepping stone in farmer successes, and boost the overall impacts of implementing these precision ag technologies in the first place. They’re also widely accessible and low-cost for farmers on the whole.
Seed coating technology can help improve or correct issues revealed by farm data in any type of operation: whether they’re related to lack of good soil health or diversity, drought, waterlogging, nutrient deficiency, predation, soil disease, seed spacing, and much more. Get in touch with a Summit Seed expert and learn more about the full spread of seed coating benefits today!