Precision farming utilises six ultra-modern technologies:
- Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which provides a navigation system to establish a position of a tractor or combine anywhere in a land within less than 2 meters on a latitude-longitude grid overlay.
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – GIS Computers capture, manage and analyse spatial data related to crop productivity and field inputs.
- Variable Rate Technology (VRT), which provides “on-the-fly” control of field inputs.
- Optical satellite imagery – provides real-time monitoring of crop development and anomalies due to variation in soil potential, physical or climatic variables, pest and diseases, or nutrient deficiencies.
- Satellite Imagery and Aerial Imagery
- Near Infra Red (NIR) Ortho rectified Imagery. This is becoming a very important technology – initially with timber and wine farmers but spreading to all farmers.
Information derived from these technologies allows farmers to:
- apply inputs such as fertilisers and seed at variable rates exactly where they are needed
- make more efficient use of these inputs
Precision Farming promotes good stewardship of the land for future generations, and preserves its potential for multiple uses.
At a time when the farmer is faced by decreasing profit margins and changing climates, precision farming is a smart way to farm.
"Precision Agriculture Solutions" (Inter-American Development Bank, 2017) provides an introduction ...
Training and research
Johan van Biljon at ARC-Agricultural Engineering researches how drones assist with precision farming. Write to vbiljonj [at] arc.agric.za.
The ARC-Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-SCW) has a section focusing on precision farming research and implementation. Specialised equipment, together with an extensive database of satellite imagery, is used to develop products to assist farmers in improving their profitability through precision farming. Take a look at www.arc.agric.za, write to iscwinfo [at] arc.agric.za or phone 012 310 2500.
Companies involved supply training in their products. Find their details under “Companies”
Elsenburg (Western Cape Department of Agriculture) Mike Wallace (dr): mikew [at] elsenburg.com, FC Basson: fcbasson [at] elsenburg.com, www.elsenburg.com
The North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, runs workshops on precision farming. Astrid Hattingh from HANDRID Flora is the contact: contact details are under the “Companies involved” heading over the page. Alternatively, email Carina.debeer [at] nwu.ac.za.
The Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University in Potchefstroom does research on soils and can help with precision farming and fertiliser recommendations. Call PW van Deventer at 018 285 2267 or write to him at 10058591 [at] nwu.ac.za.
Agricultural Management, a division of the Department of Agricultural Economics, does research on precision farming. Find the many papers and publications done on this topic on the website.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Bioresources Engineering Tel: 033 260 5490 BioEng [at] @ukzn.ac.za and http://bioeng.ukzn.ac.za
University of Pretoria Department of Plant Production and Soil Science Tel: 012 420 3809 / 3223 www.up.ac.za
Find details of the other universities and short course providers on the “Agricultural education and training” page.
- Aciel Geomatics www.aciel-geomatics.com
- AE Solutions www.aelab.co.za
- Aerobotics www.aerobotics.io “Early pest and disease detection guided by drone and satellite imagery”
- AFGRI Agri Services www.afgri.co.za/precision-agriculture/
- Afriweather www.afriweather.co.za For instrumentation to monitor weather elements and soil moisture conditions
- Agrigel www.agrigel.co.za liquid fertiliser applications for precision farming
- Agrilux www.agrilux.co.za Accurate precision farming soil analyses and recommendations
- AgriScan www.agriscan.co.za Weekly weather and Crop Bulletin, satellite readings and information
- Agrista www.agrista.com
- Cerealis Group www.cerealis.co.za
- Crop Systems www.cropsystems.co.za
- DFM Technologies https://dfmtechnologies.co.za Products include the DFM Irrigation Control System and DFM Continuous Soil Moisture Probe.
- Effective Farming Solutions SA www.efarming.co.za
- Electrolee www.electrolee.co.za Monitor the flow of seed, fertiliser and axle rotation.
- ESRI South Africa www.esri-southafrica.com Find agriculture under the industries option on the website.
- Farm-IT Solutions www.farm-it.co.za Farm-IT services include: farm management system remote sensing/GPS surveying agronomists and soil mapping emerging farmer strategy formulation and support
- Farm Quip SA www.farmquipsa.com
- Geo Agro Africa http://site.geoagro.com/en
- GeoFarmSA www.geospace.co.za/geofarmsa/
- HANDRID Flora astridhattingh [at] yahoo.com Precision farming consultants
- Hotsure www.hotsure.co.za
- Integrated Value Information System (IVIS) www.ivis.africa allows viewers to gain an aerial view of land and to zoom in digitally
- Intertek Agricultural Services www.intertek.com
- John Deere www.deere.co.za
- Land Resources International www.lri.co.za Derived from leading edge airborne remote sensing technology, LREye™ Imagery provides growers with vital crop performance information. Recurrent crop problems can be tracked over time, allowing for cost-effective containment and solution-planning.
- Lantek SA www.lanteksa.co.za
- LDR Precision Farming Technologies www.ldrprecision.co.za
- Lemken SA https://lemken.com/en-za Implements and electronic control instruments for precision farming
- MAPCO www.mapcosa.co.za
- MySmartFarm https://mysmart.farm/
- NEL Precision Farming www.agleader.com and http://nelprecisionfarming.co.za/agri/solutions/harvest/
- New Holland www.newhollandplm.com, www.nhsa.co.za
- Northmec www.northmec.co.za/afs/ Read about software, autopilot, steering, correction service etc under the Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) option on the website
- NviroTek Labs (Pty) Ltd www.nviroteklabs.co.za National, independent laboratory services for agriculture. Analyses of soils, plants and water are critical to ensure optimum yields of any type of crop, being produced.
- NWK Ltd Agricultural Management Services www.nwk.co.za
- Available services at OMNIA Fertilizer Ltd include detailed soil-and chemical maps for integrating into the Precision Farming process (OmniPrecise™). An Agronomic team can make recommendations on how to develop the Precision Farming process, step by step. Visit www.omnia.co.za. and www.fertilizer.co.za.
- Optron Tel: https://optron.com
- PACSys www.pacsys.co.za/
- Promeet Michiel Theron – 082 802 2442 promeet [at] lantic.net
- Quantum Field Services www.qtfs.co.za
- Ronin Precision Farming Systems www.roninpfs.com Read about the available precision farming equipment on the website. Ronin is also the agent for several overseas companies like Trimble, RDS and DICKEY-john.
- SGS Nviro Crop www.nvirocrop.com
- Swift Geospatial Agricultural http://swiftgeospatial.solutions/agriculture/
- Technifarm www.technifarm.co.za
- Teejet Technologies South Africa www.teejet.com
- Terratek www.terratek.co.za
- TOPCON www.topconpa.com
- Valtrac supplies Pottinger products like camera-assisted seedbed preparation systems and automatic animal detection systems. See www.valtrac.co.za
- Vantage SSA https://vantage-ssa.com Trimble and Muller precision farming products
Climate monitoring systems can halve the use of water for farmers. Find companies who offer weather services in “Weather and climate”.
Websites and publications
Refer to the websites listed earlier on this page.
- McCormick. 2021, January 27. “Precision farming: what is it and what benefits does it offer?” Available at www.mccormick.it/as/precision-farming/
- Uys, G. 2018, June 21. “Pursuing soil health precisely”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/crops/field-crops/pursuing-soil-health-precisely
- Erasmus, D. 2018, April 13. “Will technology end hunger?” Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/opinion/blog/letter-from-the-editor/will-technology-end-hunger/
- A Farm Journal study in Illinos (USA) suggests that Precision Farming can benefit smaller farms as well as large operations. Find the article “Rough ground and odd-shaped fields might increase the value” (2016, September) at www.agweb.com.
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