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Harper Adams Professor to give keynote address at Association for Computers in Agriculture meeting

Posted 14 February

"In the longer run, low cost robots might radically change the economies of scale in agriculture"

Professor James Lowenberg-DeBoer

Professor James Lowenberg-DeBoer

Professor James Lowenberg-DeBoer, who holds the Elizabeth Creak Chair in Agri-Tech Applied Economics at Harper Adams University, will give the keynote address for the Association for Computers in Agriculture (i.e. Gesellschaft für Informatik ins Landwirtschaft = GIL) meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Monday (February 18th). His talk is entitled “Potential for Precision Agriculture on Small and Medium Scale Farms Worldwide”.

Prof. Lowenberg-DeBoer will focus on technology for the 98 per cent of farms worldwide that are less than 20 hectares in size.

He said: “Larger farms around the world are adopting precision agriculture technology rapidly. Evidence from the UK and the USA suggests that medium and small scale mechanised farms are also using precision agriculture technology. But very few of the small non-mechanised farms in Africa, Asia and Latin America are using this technology.

“Precision agriculture technology that has been adapted for small non-mechanised farms includes: handheld soil and plant sensors that provide fertiliser recommendations, phone apps that provide early warning of insect and plant disease outbreaks based on satellite images, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) used for field mapping and land registration.

“Unfortunately, these precision agriculture devices and services are not widely commercialised in the developing world. In the longer run, low cost robots might radically change the economies of scale in agriculture and make precision agriculture available for small non-mechanised farmers.”

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