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Phosphorus Fertilizer Application Under Precision Farming: A Simulation of Economic and Environmental Implications

M. Weiss
Journal / Anthology

Precision Agriculture
Year: 1997
Page range: 967-974

Under the assumption that a farmer employs precision farming equipment and methods for phosphorus fertilizer application in corn production, this study investigates the potential impacts of various levels of precision on aspects of farm-level profitability and environmental quality. These issues are partly empirical, but they also implicitly posses a significant mathematical component that can be illuminated through computer simulation of appropriate phosphorus density surfaces under varying assumptions of soil sampling intensity, this study provides insight into both the economic and potential environmental returns to differing levels of precision in phosphorus fertilizer application. The results do not indicate any clear economic benefit to more precise application of phosphorus fertilizer, based on more intensive soil sampling, when the farmer's objective is profit maximization. In some cases, however, more precise application may decrease the potential for transit of excess residual phosphorus into the environment. Finally, the preceding analysis is extended to show that, in the situation studied, the very adoption of precision farming equipment and methods, as distinguished from the use of greater levels of precision under the assumption that these tools have already been adopted, is itself of no clear economic benefit for phosphorus fertilizer application.

*Science > Geology and Geophysics