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Abstract

Precision agriculture (PA) technology has been on the market for over ten years. Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), yield monitors, variable rate technologies (VRT) and other spatial management technologies are being used by farmers worldwide, but questions remain about the profitability of the technology and its future. This paper summarizes: 1) data on adoption of PA technology worldwide, 2) review of PA economics studies and 3) efforts to make better use of yield monitor and other sensor data in crop management. The adoption estimates are based on reports by an international network of collaborators. This paper draws on USDA ARMS data to update U.S. PA adoption numbers. The PA profitability summary goes beyond previous reviews by including a large number of publications from the last three years, a more detailed breakdown of results by technology type and new technologies. The data analysis section focuses on efforts to make use of the yield monitor and other data that farmers are collecting routinely, including spatial analysis of on-farm comparisons and alternative on-farm trial designs that take advantage of PA technology. Conclusions outline our vision of the future of precision agriculture and the role of farm management extension.

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