Twenty years ago, satellite positioning (GNSS) was first applied to a grain harvester, and what is now known as precision agriculture was born.
The concept is simple, if the plots are not homogeneous and in different areas the crop behaves in a variable way, why not give different amounts of nutrients and water in each area, instead of doing it uniformly as it has been done for centuries?
In other words, if we manage to give each part of the land what it needs, we will produce more efficiently and more sustainably.
However, carrying out the concept is not that simple.
It has taken more than 20 years to develop what is now known as:
Information and performance technologies.
Information technology are the devices that allow to capture data from the plant, soil, climate, machinery and convert them into geo-referenced maps.
These can be:
- Soil sensors (measure electrical conductivity, soil organic matter, humidity…)
- Vegetation sensors (optically measure crop vigour)
- Fixed crop sensors (Field-installed sensors for continuous monitoring of soil, plant moisture, rainfall, temperatures)
- And remote sensing: A technique that involves the extraction of data from the Earth’s surface through sensors installed on special platforms, such as satellites or drones.