When precision agriculture concepts were first introduced, fields with high variability were seen as the natural first choice on which to deploy the technology. As precision technology has evolved, improved, and become more efficient, it’s much easier to make a business case for its use on nearly every acre.
“All land, all farmland has a degree of variability,” says Matt Fagnou, with Echelon Canada. Variability spells potential for fine-tuning inputs, potentially reducing costs, but certainly making the most of every acre.
Technology changes are often exponential, and that’s true for precision agriculture as well. “The biggest change, really, has been the connectivity,” says Fagnou, that now machines and processes can all communicate with each other and remotely, adding ease of use and efficiency to the entire process.
And if every acre can potentially benefit from precision input applications, can any crop type, too? The higher capacity, higher input crops — such as canola — offer more chances to fine-tune and vary rates, but any crop type can benefit as precision applications are all about matching field productivity, yield goals, and input levels.
Fagnou says that those looking to use Echelon Canada’s precision services don’t need historical yield data to get started, though it can be helpful to have, and that the technology uses layers of imagery, soil analysis, and more to develop prescription application maps for each field..
“Precision mapping is not about spending less, necessarily,” Fagnou says. Many farmers are faced with knowing they can’t farm any more land so instead need to better farm the land they have, keeping in mind that precision applications of nutrients can maximize field productivity without compromising environmental practices.
Listen below to Matt Fagnou and Shaun Haney discuss precision farming and Echelon’s services: