Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Precision Agriculture Versus Organic

Am I crazy or are there parallels between organic ag and precision agriculture? Because organic agriculture usually uses more labor, there's more intelligence applied to each square foot  farmed than in commercial agriculture.  But with precision agriculture (which as I understand it via GPS captures detailed data on what's happening in each square foot in the computer), you're also applying more intelligence.  This thought stimulated by this piece in farmgate:
Precision agriculture can lead to higher yield and profitability. IA farmer Clay Mitchell outlined his concepts to a MO agronomy conference, and noted several successes:
1) Controlling field traffic creates soil qualities yielding 30% above his county average.
2) Deep residue cover allows soil to mimic a forest floor protected from direct rainfall,
3) Water infiltration reaches 4 in. per hour, compared to 0.2 in. in neighboring fields.
4) GPS guided tractors exert 40% less effort driving on compacted lanes in the field.
5) Maps showing single row yield indicated an 83 bu. yield difference from a mistake.

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