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Precision Agriculture

Applying the right resources in the right place at the right time can be a win-win for farmers and the environment. This approach, known as precision agriculture, lets farmers use cutting-edge tools to get specific, detailed information on individual bits of land or even plants in their fields. This knowledge enables them to apply only as much fertilizer, water, or other inputs as necessary – producing better results for them and their crops. Overall, researchers have found that using these methods costs no more than traditional approaches, but produces more consistent crop yields, and improves soil and water quality by reducing excess nutrient run-off from fertilizer. ARS conducts research on precision agriculture as part of its long-term agroecological research project, which has locations throughout the country.

The secret to precision agriculture is understanding that plants, and land, are not all the same; some parts of a field may require more or less fertilizer, for instance. By figuring out what is, or isn’t, needed, and responding appropriately, farmers use scarce resources like water most effectively.  Watch our video to learn more about this innovative new approach that’s helping farmers grow their crops more efficiently – and sustainably.