A new approach to support site-specific farming and economic decision making for precision agriculture in East Germany: The heterogeneity indicator

Karpinski, Isabella GND; Schuler, Johannes; Müller, Klaus

Small spatial differences in field conditions can strongly influence plant growth and create difficulties in terms of defining optimal crop management practices. Precision agriculture (PA) is considered to offer an optimal solution since it can adapt cultivation measures to small-scale in-field heterogeneity. Furthermore, it can potentially create environmental benefits through more efficient use of inputs. Since research on decision support is lacking with regard to the economic consequences of PA implementation, the authors use this heterogeneity as an indicator for an assessment of the benefits of PA. A new approach for using a site-specific heterogeneity indicator (HEI) that is linked to economics is presented. The HEI is defined as the coefficient of variation in annual field yield. Based on a study in East Germany between 2005 and 2007, an HEI threshold value of 17% for profitable PA was identified based on individual and external benefits. Grounded in more detailed data, the HEI could serve as a useful decision-support tool for farmers in deciding whether or not to implement PA.

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Karpinski, Isabella / Schuler, Johannes / Müller, Klaus: A new approach to support site-specific farming and economic decision making for precision agriculture in East Germany: The heterogeneity indicator. 2015.

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