Precision Agriculture Opportunities
Precision agriculture practices presents farmers with the opportunity to reduce their fertilizer, water and greenhouse emissions. Significantly, farmers benefit from improved farm management practices that shores up their profitability and return on investment.
IMPROVED WATER USE
- Currently, agricultural activities take up to 80% of water use in the United States. In some Western states, water use by agricultural activities reaches up to 90% of total water use.
- In the future, global warming will drive water scarcity with 96 out of the 204 water basins that supply freshwater in the United States not having enough water to meet water demand by 2071.
- Tackling irrigation inefficiencies by US farmers can significantly decrease their water use considering that evaporation wastes up to 50% of available water for irrigation.
- Use of precision agriculture can decrease overall farm water use by 20%.
- IBM and California's Gallo Winery achieved 16% reduced water use and 30% improved yields by implementing precision farming technologies including sensors, satellite imagery, and weather forecasting.
IMPROVED FERTILIZER USE
- Removing nitrates in water polluted by agriculture costs the United States $1.17 billion annually; the US fishing and tourism industry faces $100 million and $1 billion in damages annually from fertilizer pollution; nitrogen use in fertilizer is increasing respiratory illnesses with US citizens incurring $23.1 health costs per kg of nitrogen fertilizer uses.
- Efficient fertilizer use reduces the impact of fertilizers on the environment.
- Significantly, precision agriculture can deliver a 40% reduction in fertilizer use, which improves the profitability of farming.
- Using remote sensing technology can save US corn and soybean farmers $0.5 billion in fertilizer cost.
IMPROVED FARM MANAGEMENT
- The agriculture industry is facing increasing farm consolidations. The average US farm size grew from 441 acres in 2017 to 443 acres in 2018. In contrast, the number of farmers decreased by 12,800 to 2.029 million in 2018.
- As US farms become larger, it increases the need to have better farm management policies. Precision farming provides digital insights and tools for modern farm management.
- Precision farming provides information on the weather, farm input use, farm output, crop health, animal health, and soil moisture. Previously, these data sources were dispersed and uncollected for analysis. Analysis of precision farming data using cloud based farm management software provides to farmers comprehensive insights on improving farm management.
- Farm management systems also incorporate CRM software capabilities for farm management in areas such as procurement, warehousing, distribution, finance, human resource, and marketing. 72% of users of cloud based software expect an increase in ROI.
REDUCED GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS
- Livestock belch contributes to 5% of global greenhouse gasses production. Cows are the largest contributor to methane production among livestock. The methane emitted from 1 kg of beef is equal to the 34.5 kg of Carbon dioxide, which is equal to the carbon dioxide produced by an average European car after 250 km.