Change in Agriculture By Aimee Nielson Photography by Matt Barton
In the early 1900s, farmers walked their fields to take soil samples. Once they knew what the soil needed, they drew maps to show them where to apply certain amendments. They used wagons and mules to haul loads of heavy limestone to precise locations. Without calling it that, they were practicing precision agriculture.
Simply put, precision agriculture is collecting and analyzing data and then making an action plan for the agricultural enterprise based on that data. Farmers have always known the method gives them the highest yields and the highest quality crops. Today's technology has just made precision agriculture easier and more efficient. “Farmers can benefit from technology by having the ability to do more,” said Tim Stombaugh, an agricultural engineer with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We're running out of manpower, and we need to be able to maximize the people we do have. Technology allows farmers to multitask.”