What is AgroICT and Precision Agriculture and Livestock?
AgroICT is a term that refers to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in agriculture in the broadest sense. The term AgroICT has been adapted from the word Agrotic, used for the last few years in the school of agricultural engineering Sup Agro-Montpellier to designate one of their specialties. ICT applications can be many and diverse. Thus, ICT can be used to acquire data of agricultural and/or livestock systems, convert the data into useful information for farmers and communicate and/or share this information through communication systems. The GRAP works on applied research to analyze what applications can be the most interesting in our socio-economic environment. See our research lines at the RESEARCH section.
The definition of Precision Agriculture recently adopted by the Internatioal Society of Precsion Agriculture is as follows:
In the next link there is a list of former Precision Agriculture definitions
Precision Agriculture is to conduct agricultural management applying the right input at the right time, in the right amount, at the right place, in the right manner (adapted definitions of Pierre Robert and Raj Khosla). In order to do so you must know the behavior of agricultural fields and their characteristics in order to be more productive but in an efficient and sustainable way. That was already done by grandparents and great-grandparents as they walked through their fields and perfectly knew them. However, the advent of the industrial revolution and the agricultural mechanization led to the standardization of agricultural operations in order to reduce costs. Today, technological advances and the ICT allow the collection of huge data amounts about the crop and its environment with a high spatial resolution (data per unit area) and at a reasonable cost. Visualise these data, process them and turn them into useful information, allow farmers to have a reliable and objective support in order to make decisions consistently. These decisions could turn into a site-specific management decision within a field. Then is when Variable Rate Technologies (VRT) appear in some agricultural equipment to perform agricultural operations and distribute agrochemicals in the most effective and efficient manner.
Often, these data reveal that fields do not perform uniformly. For example, it is common that field production is not even and there are certain areas more productive than others. This can also happen with quality parameters of agricultural products. This variability managed in a uniform manner makes that field less profitable. Handling this variability to increase the profitability of farms and reduce the environmental impact of agricultural operations is the aim of Precision Agriculture.
You can also have a look at the technical articles the GRAP published in 2016, 2017 and 2018 at the Precision Ag Corner in then magazine New Ag International:
- Precision Agriculture: What's behind the name?
- Understanding geolocation and navigation and their uses in Precision Agriculture
- Imagine how agriculture may look like in 40 years!
- What sensors tell about the crop environment
- What do sensors tell us about crops
- How to get and what to do with coloured maps
- Data management and decision making: when Precision Agriculture puts us in trouble
- Operation in the field: site-specific management using variable rate technologies
- Can Precision Agriculture be profitable
Precision livestock farming is an innovative production system approach, which is based on intensive and integrated use of advances in the TICs and animal sciences. Its main objective is to help farmers to improve livestock production efficiency, quality, welfare and health in a sustainable manner. This approach offers many opportunities, such as:
- The increased feed efficiency that can be obtained by reducing uncertainty in decisions relating the control of the variability that exists among farm animals and offer a tailored care for de animals in terms of feeding and housing;
- Enable continuous, automatic monitoring of animal production in real-time, health, welfare and environmental impact;
- Develop advanced and intelligent automation tailored to animal needs;
- Improve the precision of management tools and make many of the farmer’s daily tasks much easier to handle.