Diagram Open Access
Feeding 10 billion people by 2050 will require transformative changes to our food production systems1, 2. Climate change3-6, water scarcity and urban demand7, herbicide-resistant weeds8, and declining soil9 and water quality10,11 are increasing crop production risks, lowering yields, and negatively impacting the environment. The increased use of sustainable agricultural practices such as reduced-tillage12, diversified crop rotations13, and integrated weed management especially through incorporation of cover crops14, are necessary to achieve this goal. However, farmers repeatedly cite management complexity and a need for site- and system-specific information to overcome the barriers to adoption15, 16. Sustainable agriculture thus demands precision tools to account for genetic and environmental nuances in complex, adaptive, agricultural systems, while simultaneously responding to the social, technological, and economic contexts of farming.
Precision Sustainable Agriculture17 uses a data-driven and human-centered approach to the research and development of on-farm monitoring tools, cloud-based, information management tools for large-scale agricultural research projects, decision support tools for agriculture data stakeholders, and modeling and analysis tools for use in sustainable agriculture. We are laying the foundation of an information ecology18 for sustainable agriculture: a system of tools, data, methods, and actors to maximize farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability.
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Williams A, Hunter MC, Kammerer M, Kane DA, Jordan NR, Mortensen DA, et al. Soil Water Holding Capacity Mitigates Downside Risk and Volatility in US Rainfed Maize: Time to Invest in Soil Organic Matter? PLoS ONE. 2016;11(8):e0160974.
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Cox HW, Kelly RM, Strong WM. Pulse crops in rotation with cereals can be a profitable alternative to nitrogen fertiliser in central Queensland. Crop Pasture Sci. 2010 Sep 30;61(9):752–62.
Mortensen DA, Egan JF, Maxwell BD, Ryan MR, Smith RG. Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed Management. BioScience. 2012 Jan 1;62(1):75–84.
Dunn M, Ulrich-Schad JD, Prokopy LS, Myers RL, Watts CR, Scanlon K. Perceptions and use of cover crops among early adopters: Findings from a national survey. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 2016 Jan 1;71(1):29–40.
Myers R, Watts C. Progress and perspectives with cover crops: Interpreting three years of farmer surveys on cover crops. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 2015 Nov 1;70(6):125A-129A.
Mirsky, S, Reberg-Horton, C, Raturi, A. Precision Sustainable Agriculture. Available: http://precisionsustainableag.org
Nardi B, O' Day V. Information ecologies: Using technology with heart. MIT Press; 1999.