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A new era in potato production: How advanced GPS and precision technologies are shaping the future

This article was written by Jorge Luis Alonso G., an information consultant specializing
in the potato crop.

In a recent paper published in the journal Smart Agricultural Technology (2023), researchers from the Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystems Sciences at the University of Florida provide a comprehensive review of best management practices (BMPs) using precision agriculture technologies (PATs).

The Elsevier paper was published online by ScienceDirect Under a Creative Commons license. It covers a variety of key areas, including soil preparation, irrigation, fertilization, pest and disease management, and potato harvesting and storage.

Researchers Uzair Ahmad and Lakesh Sharma evaluate the economic and environmental impact of these BMPs in their paper, using insights from major research engines such as Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Web of Sciences, and IEEE Xplore.

The paper is a must-read for anyone seeking a nuanced understanding of the latest advances in smart agriculture. We’ll delve into the key areas addressed by the paper in six concise articles.

The advent of a new era for farmers

The integration of cutting-edge GPS technology into precision agriculture has ushered in a new era for farmers, giving them unprecedented ability to optimize their practices. With the ability to map their fields, track crop locations, and monitor the spread of pests and diseases, farmers now have access to invaluable information that shapes their decision-making process.

Through innovative decision support systems (DSS) such as the Potato Pest and Disease Decision Support System (PPDDSS), the Agricultural Pest Surveillance System (APS), and the Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE), farmers are armed with comprehensive data that includes weather patterns, crop details, and pest and disease information. This wealth of knowledge enables them to make informed pest and disease management decisions, resulting in more effective and targeted strategies that reduce reliance on harmful pesticides and minimize crop losses.

In addition, GPS-based yield mapping and optical sensing systems have revolutionized potato harvesting by providing real-time data on key metrics such as potato size, shape and color. Armed with this information, growers can make informed decisions about harvesting and post-harvest handling, optimizing their processes for maximum efficiency.

In addition, these advanced technologies enable continuous monitoring of plant growth and health, allowing early detection and diagnosis of potential problems, and further enhancing the overall quality of potato production.

When it comes to potato storage, temperature and humidity sensors play a critical role, allowing growers to monitor and control storage conditions to ensure optimal preservation. Predictive models based on factors such as temperature, humidity and potato age can estimate ideal storage conditions, enabling precise management strategies.

In addition, controlled atmosphere storage, a cutting-edge technique that modifies atmospheric conditions, has proven to be a game changer in reducing spoilage and extending the shelf life of potatoes, contributing to the sustainability of the industry.

Another innovative technology making waves in potato production is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Increasingly used in supply chain management, RFID tags attached to individual potatoes allow growers to meticulously track their location, quality and storage conditions throughout the supply chain. This level of traceability enables data-driven decision-making and optimization of the production process, reducing food waste and improving overall efficiency.

A paradigm shift in potato production

The combination of BMPs and the latest PATs has created a paradigm shift in potato production and storage. By leveraging these cutting-edge tools, growers are able to achieve higher levels of efficiency, profitability and sustainability, while reducing waste and ensuring that only high-quality potatoes make their way to consumers. Looking ahead, the continued advancement and widespread adoption of these technologies will be critical to ensuring the long-term sustainability of potato production, paving the way for a brighter future in agriculture.

Main points

  • Cutting-edge GPS technology has revolutionized precision agriculture for farmers.
  • DSS provides comprehensive data on weather patterns, crop details, and pest and disease information for informed pest and disease management decisions.
  • GPS-based yield mapping and optical sensing systems provide real-time data on key metrics such as potato size, shape, and color for informed decision-making about harvesting and post-harvest handling.
  • Temperature and humidity sensors, along with controlled atmosphere storage, allow growers to monitor and control storage conditions to ensure optimal preservation and extend the shelf life of potatoes.
  • RFID tags attached to individual potatoes enable meticulous tracking of their location, quality, and storage conditions throughout the supply chain, reducing food waste and improving overall efficiency.

BMPs and precision agriculture technologies are revolutionizing potato production, increasing efficiency, profitability, and sustainability, while reducing waste and ensuring high-quality potatoes for consumers.

Source: A review of Best Management Practices for potato crop using Precision Agricultural Technologies. Uzair Ahmad and Lakesh Sharma, Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystems Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, United States.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atech.2023.100220
Cover photo: Credit meganelford0 on Pixabay

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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