Overview Precision Farming in Indonesia


Concept of precision farming is increase yield through precise treatment on specific measurement and specific location. In the US, precision farming has been implemented using land mapping technology and variable rate applicator in the field. The agricultural experts in the US have developed electronic devices that do the step of precision farming. The step is to monitor and record the field, process the recorded data, and implement treatment based on the data. The devices have been integrated with global positioning system technology to triangulate specific location of field and sensor technology to retrieve soil conductivity data, air humidity, and temperature. All the data is stored in data logger hardware that can be downloaded and processed on the go. And the most important, all the data is processed by microprocessor just a moment to provide fast measurement for treatment in the field like fertilization application, pest and plant disease control, irrigation, and harvesting. Application of precision farming technology will cut farming cost through efficiency of water, labor, energy, fertilizers and insecticides needed. Another advantage,  agricultural waste reduced from excess fertilizer and insecticides application to preserve nature and environment around the field.

Application of this technology become economically valuable only if the yield profit can cover the operational and investment cost. In America this situation may occur because farmer land ownership can reach until 60 hectares, but in Indonesia most farmers just have 0.3 hectares in average, although there are small number of farmers with large capital undertake farming on more than 30 hectare of land. Another problem is limitation of human resources to perform and manage precision farming. Average education level of Indonesian farmer is not too high. So they need support from agricultural extension but the numbers is not many. Agriculture extension should be important point because Indonesian farmers need intensive transfer technology to do precision farming.  Besides that, characteristic of the farm in Indonesia and America that has been implementing  precision farming technology earlier is different. Indonesian farmer in collaboration with scientists and engineers should find their method and  technique to implement the precision farming. The technology could be easily disseminated to Indonesian farmer, can be applied in small area, and reliable in tropical climate. Indonesian government through ministry of agriculture has conducted research and the result has spread to Indonesian farmers. Some technologies like soil testing tools set for paddy field and paddy leaf color indicator for fertilizer application have been introduced to the farmer, but it should improved. Food security is a must, because increased food consumption growth without accompanied by ability to produce the food has proven to be a burden in national economic stability. An massive effort to do precision farming must performed as soon as possible for increasing the food production and ensuring the security of our generation moreover our next generation.

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