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Benefits of using Precision Agriculture

CYBELE generates innovation and creates value in the domain of agri-food, bringing social, economic, and environmental benefits. When it comes to Precision Agriculture (PA), these benefits are huge.

Precision Farming is based on information technology, which enables the farmer to understand the health of his farms. Through stationary or remote-mounted sensors, and camera-equipped drones, a farmer receives the data in real time on individual plants which shows signs of stress and health issues. Accordingly, they deliver water, pesticide or fertilizer in calibrated doses to only those plants. The technology can also help farmers decide when to plant & harvest crops.

As PA contributes to the better decision making in agriculture, it provides a wide range of benefits. From the economic point of view, a review of 234 studies published from 1988 to 2005 showed that precision agriculture was found to be profitable in an average of 68% of the cases (Griffin and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2005). Using new technologies can reduce costs without decreasing production and that’s the main reason for farmers to adopt PA approach. Also, in large parts of Eastern EU 28 countries, the aim is to increase production, and here direct economic benefits are likely to be larger[1].

The application of information technologies into PA methods has clear benefits to optimise production efficiency and to increase quality, but also to minimise environmental impact and risk, which includes undesirable variability caused by the human operator. PA nowadays is seen as an “environment friendly system solution that optimizes product quality and quantity while minimizing cost, human intervention and the variation caused by unpredictable nature”[2].

Table below shows expected environmental gains from main PA processes and techniques.

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/581892/EPRS_STU(2016)581892_EN.pdf

Precision Agriculture presents also some benefits for social and working conditions. For instance, auto-steer systems are available for a variety of tractor models making the work less fatiguing. Also, the evolution of precision dairy farming technologies provide tremendous opportunities to improve delivery of automatic individual cow management applications and thus reduce labour requirements such as milking two times per day, and there are also arguments of increased animal welfare.

[1] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/529049/IPOL-AGRI_NT%282014%29529049_EN.pdf

[2] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2014/529049/IPOL-AGRI_NT%282014%29529049_EN.pdf

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 825355.

© 2019 CYBELE consortium

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