Environmental and economic benefits
The deployment of digital solutions for precision farming has a twofold positive impact.
From the environmental point of view, these technologies help ensure targeted and precise herbicide applications based on the density and the composition of the weed detected. In other words, the doses applied are just those strictly needed to control weeds’ presence on the crop.
What’s more, when herbicides are used more precisely and efficiently, water use is also reduced. Furthermore, in the case of drone sprayers, there is no need for conventional spraying done by tractors, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. An additional advantage is the possibility to continue weed management via aerial tools also under unfavorable soil conditions (i.e. after heavy rainfall).
These efficiencies bring significant benefits to farmers. In fact, the targeted application of weed control products is as effective as more traditional application methods, so crops are freed from invasive weeds but the cost to run this operation is lower.
Access to these digital solutions requires an investment up front by the farmer – which follows the investments over decades by agritech companies to research and develop those solutions and bring them to the market. As digital solutions for precision weed detection and management continue to evolve and expand, they should become more affordable and widely deployed.
- “Socio-economic value of glyphosate: A review of EU studies assessing the value of glyphosate to the agriculture industry”; L. Garcia-Perez, Harriet Illman, S. Wynn; 13 May 2020