Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Precise common sense

Precision ag implies computer mapped lab data and GPS controlled field equipment. Higher yields, less flying blind and easier farming. The reality is that the expense of data collection, analysis and interpretation can quickly wipeout any added value. Reading this article about variable rate management of cotton, it struck me that common sense and curiosity are the missing ingredients. Elton Robinson with Delta Press reports on cotton producer Kenneth Hood, Mississippi, who attributes his success with variable rate agriculture to, among other things, reliance on aerial photo interpretation, an approach not typical of precision agriculture. Hood says that the “... advantage to imagery is that very little data collection is required, according to Hood, “which is unlike most precision agriculture practices.” Put this experience together with the recent cryptic news on the lukewarm record of precision agriculture in Germany, which I touched on earlier, and what do you get? My sense is that Kenneth Hood is going to have lots of company.

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