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Precision farming uses typology in arable crop-oriented farms in northern France


The adoption of precision farming techniques (PFTs) has been widely studied targeting specific PFT or farming systems along with the potential benefits of these PFTs in terms of yield or input use. However, few studies have examined how PFTs are adopted and used at the farm level. In this study a preliminary investigation was made of on-farm PFT uses in the Oise region (northern France). Three main PFTs were identified in the area: Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) guidance, section control, and variable rate (VR) application. For each farm, the use of every PFT was defined by the technical characteristics of the equipment, the field operation(s) concerned, the targeted crop(s), the aim of the use, the PFT adoption drivers, and the perceived impacts by the farmers. These different variables were combined into a typology of PFT uses. The results show that most of the farms combined GNSS guidance for all technical operations and section control, whereas VR application was less common. Section control was largely used by farmers for liquid fertilizers and phytochemical spraying. The typology shows three to five types of use for each PFT, which differ in terms of technique adoption drivers, e.g. reducing on-farm work or adaptation to field morphology. According to literature, economic impacts were found to be the most frequent, however farmers seemed unable to quantify them. Social impacts such as reduced work time and fatigue were also frequent and are becoming the main motivation for using PFT on farms studied. Further research is needed to assess the use trajectories of PFT along with the motivations of each PFT use.

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We warmly acknowledge the group of students in agricultural engineering “Agronomie et Territoire” at UniLaSalle for their hard work in the initial phases of the research: Hélène Callewaert, Jean Manuel Clabaut, Juliette Descotes, Lucie Deterpigny, Marie Thérèse Gässler, Estelle Harant, Pierre Lauwerier, François Mathellié, Axel Moilleron, Damien Prévost (†) and Hélène Vanbesalaere, as well as useful discussions with Sophie Wieruszeski and Florian Vigneron from the Oise agricultural Chamber. 23 farmers answered our questions, and many thanks to all of them. We acknowledge the editor for helpful and constructive comments. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Alicia Ayerdi Gotor.

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Ayerdi Gotor, A., Marraccini, E., Leclercq, C. et al. Precision farming uses typology in arable crop-oriented farms in northern France. Precision Agric 21, 131–146 (2020).

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  • Precision farming
  • Impacts
  • Adoption
  • Farm-level
  • Techniques