Historically, crop and soil management practices have been made and applied at the field level. Management at the field level works well with small fields and large fields which have little spatial variability. Precision agriculture, also known as site-specific management, addresses spatial variability within a field and how to best manage that variability to maximize production and profitability while minimizing risk. Site-specific management may be applied to such decisions as variety selection, weed and pest management, nutrient management, and irrigation.
Research and extension faculty within the Crop and Soil Sciences Department along with faculty in other departments are developing methods to identify areas of variability within a field. New technologies such as yield monitoring, remote sensing, imaging, and GIS are being explored in conjunction with traditional methods such as scouting. Work is also being conducted on how to implement site-specific practices through the development of new equipment capable of variably applying inputs. Finally, scientists are working with current and future agriculture professionals to provide them with scientific-based information on the use and application of precision agriculture and help improve their skills with the associated new technologies.