A Precise Future for Agriculture

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Precision agronomy has been around for some time and many farmers have adopted it to become more accurate in their fertiliser application, among other things. As we look ahead at 2021 and beyond, this approach is going to become something that all farmers take on if they want to remain economically viable.

The agriculture industry has rarely been hit by so much change all at once, but change often breeds opportunity, especially for savvy farmers who can spot them. We finally have a Brexit deal and from a fertiliser market perspective, this means that UK farmers will still benefit from a competitive market as tariffs won’t be applied to imported product.

But Brexit will also bring an end to the basic payment scheme, pushing farmers to explore how they can do more, with less. At the same time, the industry faces pressure to adopt more sustainable farming practices.

There are opportunities for farmers to explore such as the proposed Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) which is currently going through a pilot phase ready for a 2024 roll-out. Ultimately, ELMS seeks to pay farmers for delivering on environmental priorities such as a reduction in emissions, cleaner water and environmental hazard protection.

To navigate their way through these challenges and take advantage of new opportunities it is becoming more important than ever to adopt precision agronomy practices. Accuracy in land management will help farmers increase productivity, decrease costs, maximise profitability and protect the environment. 

Fertiliser can present a conundrum for farmers. There is no arguing that nitrogen fertiliser plays a key role in enhancing food production to feed a growing global population. But overuse leads to soil, air and water pollution, not to mention leaving a dent in your bank balance. There’s a balance to be struck and as Natalie Wood, Country Agronomist Arable at Yara, says: “Farmers will have to increase their efficiency by doing more with less. The key to this is precision agronomy.”

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