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Precision agriculture: a challenge for crop nutrition management


Precision agriculture was initiated in the mid 1980s, using newly available technologies, to improve the application of fertilizers by varying rates and blends as needed within fields. Presently, the concept has been adapted to a variety of practices, crops, and countries. Its adoption varies significantly by cropping system, regions, and countries but it is progressively introduced or evaluated around the world. Several types of challenges limit a broader adoption: socio-economical, agronomical, and technological. Socio-economical barriers are principally costs and lack of skills. Agronomical challenges are lack of basic information, inadequate sampling and scouting procedures, absence of site-specific fertilizer recommendations, misuse of information, and lack of qualified agronomic services. There are multiple technological barriers that relate to machinery, sensor, GPS, software, and remote sensing. However, these barriers will be progressively lifted and precision agriculture will be a significant component of the agricultural system of the future. It offers a variety of potential benefits in profitability, productivity, sustainability, crop quality, food safety, environmental protection, on-farm quality of life, and rural economic development.