Precision agriculture is an inclusive term referring to the application of new information technologies to agriculture. Some of the applications are based on using a global positioning system (GPS) to geo-reference the location of a soil sample, tissue sample, or some other agronomic practice or to monitor yields by the meter rather than by the field. This data is then integrated into a geographic information system (GIS) to produce a map containing information about the physical dispersion of the test results or yield.Other applications make use of remote sensing: satellites or airplanes take pictures of fields, which are geo-referenced with a GPS to provide information about differences in vegetative matter or other aspects of the field in question.

The following four cases are presented as examples of how precision agriculture is being used on farms and ranches in California. These cases are presented for classroom discussion, to explore how and why farm managers might adopt one of these systems, and not as an example of correct or superior management. Interviews for the cases were done in 2001; some of the information may be obsolete given the rapid pace of change in technology. In all cases names have been changed.



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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/agb_fac/146