The identification of local soil variability caused by within-field differences of macronutrients and ecological features is of paramount importance for the effectiveness of precision agriculture. We present several spatial statistical and econometric techniques to capture local differences in soil variation, ecological characteristics, and yield more effectively than the analytical techniques traditionally used in agronomy. The application of these techniques is illustrated in a case study dealing with precision agriculture in the West African Sahel. The production of millet on acid sandy soils constitutes a typical example of low soil fertility areas exhibiting small absolute but large relative differences in crop production conditions over short distances. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.