Precision agriculture: the solution to control nutrient emissions?

J.J. Stoorvogel, J. Bouma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


After almost two decades of precision agriculture (PA) research it is time to look at where we are. Significant progress has been made with different elements of research but at the same time we see that PA is not broadly being embraced in global agriculture. However, there is a clear need for advanced techniques, such as PA, to not only improve the agricultural production process but to also control losses of agricultural chemicals to the environment. Key problems in the adoption of PA are the narrow technological focus and lack of an integrating systems approach to research. Insight is lacking to translate the observed spatial variability in resources and crop performance into practical site and time specific management recommendations. We studied two agricultural systems. One system is a typical case for arable farming in the Netherlands. The system is increasingly being constrained by agricultural policies that limit use of chemicals on the farm. The other system under consideration is a Costa Rican banana plantation. The plantation is also constrained in its management decisions but here it is the European market that limits the management options on the farm. The two examples illustrate the potential value of PA if studied in an integrated manner. They also show that high-tech is not a prerequisite for successful implementation but that, rather, a joint learning process with the producers is the key to success.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrecision Agriculture 2005
EditorsJ.V. Stafford
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789076998695
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • farm management
  • nitrates
  • leaching
  • soil chemistry
  • minerals


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