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Agricultural Infotronic Systems

Qin Zhang
Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural Engineering
(217)333-9419
qinzhang@illinois.edu
Qin Zhang

Recent advances in precision farming technology, such as variable-rate applications, and in information technology, such as the Internet, have provided U.S. agricultural producers with a beneficial alternative way of farming—prescriptive farming.

Precision farming can maximize farm efficiency and profitability by optimizing the production based on small grids of a field. However, it requires special skills and supporting information to synthesize the production information and develop plans for optimizing the production efficiency and profitability. Lack of tools for data analysis and production planning created an obstacle for producers who want to utilize their production information in planning their production. Consequently, the technical feasibility of precision farming has not yet been able to provide producers with economic benefits. A technology that "works" will not be adopted unless it is viewed as applicable by farmers and can be employed at a profit.

The basic functions of an agricultural infotronic system
Figure 1. The basic functions of an agricultural infotronic system.

An agricultural infotronic system (AIS) is an integrated information management system for collecting, processing, transmitting, and presenting precision agriculture information on agricultural machinery. It provides farmers with ready-to-use information to support on-the-go decision-making. Figure 1 shows the basic functions of AIS. The AIS consists of information collection, processing, and display functions and is designed to convert raw production information into a ready-to-use format for producers to use in planning their precision farming operations.

The impact of this research will be significant, as it will provide producers with an applicable tool to adopt workable precision farming technology as one of their profitable practices. This research will help producers maximize farm efficiency and profitability by optimizing the production based on small grids of a field.

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