Environmental impact with environmental indicators - with precision farming and controlled traffic systems

Report that examines the environmental impact from implementing different precision farming systems in arable farming for different crops, wheat, maize, sugar beet and rape seed.

Year of Publication2011

In this report focus has been on two scenarios. The first one is controlled traffic because this single system appears to have the most significant impact on fuel savings and yield increases among different precision farming systems. This technology along with auto-guidance is also regarded as a likely future technology in arable farming. The second scenario is a full implementation of precision farming with controlled traffic, site-specific weed management and site-specific N-and lime application. All technologies are assumed to be implemented in Danish farming. Findings from this report indicate that an implementation of controlled traffic farming systems may have a significant impact on fuel savings (25 – 27 pct.) compared with conventional farming practices. Auto guidance and controlled traffic farming may enable the farmer to save significant fuel amounts due to fewer overlaps with better navigation and from better logistics. Moreover, controlled traffic may increase yields in the long run. The highest environmental potential of the technologies among the four crops seems to be saving of fuel and herbicides. As sugar beet requires the highest amount of these input it is the most interesting crop from an environmental perspective. Current precision farming technologies seems to have a relatively modest impact on nitrate leaching compared with the overall application of nitrogen. It is expected to be in the range of 0-3 pct reductions in N compared with conventional treatment. This is due to uncertainty from fluctuations in weather conditions and the difficulties of establishing good application strategies. In this analysis we expect that N-application is redistributed rather than saved. It is estimated that the application of phosphorus can be reduced with about 10 percent from mineral fertilisers. However, to get a better utilisation it must be necessary to focus on the slurry and manure handling. On the contrary, patch spraying may enable the farmer to reduce herbicide application with about 40-60 percent compared with conventional treatment.

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ffd5 6precision farmingcontrolled trafficfarm management information system
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