Precision Organic Farming

I have been involved in agriculture my entire life and I get excited when I see trends and techniques that can make it more sustainable. I honestly believe that the precision agriculture mindset can be a valuable tool to help create a more sustainable system. Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing and reacting to field variations. 
 
Precision agriculture does not have one clear-cut definition; it is very flexible, and many practices can be considered part of precision agriculture. In conventional farming, precision agriculture includes GPS guided equipment, yield mapping, soil grid sampling, and variable rate fertilizing and seeding. All of these tools and practices are used to increase productivity and decrease the amount of resources that are wasted. It is highly impractical to think that the student organic farm could benefit from GPS guided equipment, but the precision agriculture mindset could be used in some practices on the farm.

Yearly soil tests and nutrient analysis on compost would be a good practice that could help minimize nutrient waste and help farm managers position plants in locations that would be the most productive for each crop. Row and plant spacing can also be considered a precision agriculture practice. Having consistent and optimal plant spacing helps improve productivity and limits the amount of wasted space on the farm.   

Overall, I think that the concept of precision agriculture fits the organic system well, since it requires identifying resources and optimizing them without exploiting them. 

Jason Garvick

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