Precision agriculture in the 21st century: geospatial and information technologies in crop management, Committee on Assessing Crop Yield: Site‐Specific Farming, Information Systems and Research Opportunities, Board on Agriculture, National Research Council National Academy Press , Washington DC, USA , 1997 xii + 149 pp, price £32.95 ISBN 0‐309‐05893‐7 Roger Plumb. This book is the outcome of a study by the US National Research Council's Board on Agriculture that addressed four key questions: (1) How can evolving technologies aid producer decision making in agricultural crop production? (2) What are the incentives for adoption and barriers to implementation of these information technologies? (3) What are the environmental, economic and social implications of precision agriculture? (4) What are the appropriate roles for the public and private sectors in improving and disseminating these technologies? The scope of the report included the adoption and effectiveness of information technologies that affect farm operations. The book is structured around these questions with four chapters, each addressing one of the questions but, to emphasise that it is a report, there is an executive summary. There is recognition that, while the term Precision Agriculture can be seductive, with images of computer‐controlled machinery linked to satellites and local sensors, it is still in its early stages and that the ability to be precise is often greater than our knowledge of how, or whether, precision is worthwhile. Precision Agriculture is defined here ‘as a management strategy that uses information technologies to bring data from multiple sources to bear on decisions associated with crop production’. The nature and origin of the report, especially the role of public and private sectors, is particularly directed to USA concerns but the more general principles are equally valid for agriculture elsewhere. However, this is not a manual for the producer, more a guide to the policy makers and potential funders, and for study by the research community. If there is one message it is one of cautious optimism that precision agriculture has the potential for improving production efficiency and sustainability, and that a more holistic and integrated approach to agricultural research is necessary. I recommend it to anyone involved in agricultural production, whether as a researcher, practitioner, policy maker or funder, as Precision Agriculture is not a passing phase but will become an increasingly important part of agriculture worldwide.
Pest Management Science – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 2000
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