June 14th, 2022
What is Precision Agriculture?
The market is more competitive, and agriculture has been developing tools and technologies to increase yield. Due to this goal, Precision Agriculture was created. It is a method that uses technologies to collect crop field data, and from this data, it is possible to manage the farm for higher yields.
Each soil portion features different physical, chemical and biological properties. In other words, variability determines the production potential. From the interpretation of the information collected from the soil, prescription maps are created. They indicate the different management zones and show where the input should be applied and the proper time and amount required. It avoids waste and boosts the area productivity since it is precise and assertive.
This is the variable-rate technology applied as much for planting as for fertiliser and substances for soil regulation. The more information, the more precise the diagnostic is. The analysis of this data allows you to change processes and incorporate new technologies to boost production system efficiency.
For variable rate planting, the prescription maps adjust the seed population according to the management zones. In practice, for the soybeans and wheat crops, the areas considered with low production potential receive a larger number of seeds. Management zones with high production potential receive a small number of seeds. For corn crops, it works differently: Higher production potential in areas with a higher number of seeds.
The technologies of Precision Agriculture can be on-board for agricultural machines and geographic information systems (GPS). They are accessible to small, medium and large farmers. Additionally, they can be applied to several kinds of crops to boost productivity and reduce production costs and environmental impact.
Precision Agriculture in Brazil
In the 90s, Precision Agriculture started to be incorporated in Brazil through some tests in the state of Paraná and the mid-west. In 2000, inspired by the success of Precision Agriculture adoption in developed countries, such as the United States of America, Germany, England, and Australia, the Aquarius Project, gathered farmers, a university and machinery manufacturer, fertiliser and genetics to study more about Precision Agriculture in the south of Brazil.
Stara was one of the founders of the project. The primary goal was to show that Precision Agriculture could be applied on a commercial scale in the crop fields in the south of Brazil. Today, the project has the biggest database about the subject worldwide.
In 2000, Stara started developing equipment for Precision Agriculture for trends anticipation that would lead to crop yield increase. It all started with a trip of Fernando Stapelbroek Trennepohl, a member of the Board of Directors and in charge of the Crop Science Division of Stara, to the United States, where he learned about Precision Agriculture technology.
The first controllers were imported. They led Stara to learn and dominate this technology, which Stara itself started developing. And so, Stara started to incorporate Precision Agriculture into its machinery.
Due to the importance of the work developed by the Aquarius Project and because the project started in the town of Não Me-Toque/RS, Stara headquarters, in 2007 a state Law recognized the town as the National Capital of Precision Agriculture.
Stara products with Precision Agriculture
The studies about Precision Agriculture carried out by the Aquarius Project inspired Stara to develop plenty of machines and pieces of equipment. For example, variable rates led to the Control System development and on-board technology for planters. The system instantaneously adjusts the seed and fertiliser rates of the equipment. As a result, planting is more practical and faster. Research conducted in Brazil shows that the Control System provides savings of 5.7% in corn planting and 4% in soybeans.
Another example is the controllers, such as Topper 5500, developed and manufactured by Stara with technology able to manage various agricultural machines and control several operations on one single implement. Topper 5500 features an Android system, the most used operating system in mobile devices in the world. It adds an input for up to alternated 6 cameras that can be positioned according to the operation need. Additionally, it is equipped with the standard Control system, a perfect tool for Precision Agriculture. Topper is available for self-propelled sprayers and spreaders, and planters from Stara.
Another example is Telemetria Stara. Through this system, you can manage your operations in the crop field in real time. Any device that has Internet access will provide you with. Telemetria Stara allows the farmer to plan work logistics, optimize the fleet, reduce operational costs and avoid crop losses.
The Zero Crop Damage is an exclusive Stara technology. It performs sowing with automatic row-by-row shut-off where the sprayer and spreader will further pass over. It provides the farmer with up to 4% seed savings. The Zero Crop Damage is available on all Stara planters with Row-by-Row Shut-Off System, and the entire operation process is through Topper 5500, without the need for maps.
Precision Agriculture has been part of Stara history and continues to be a determining factor for its development.