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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 47 No. 5, p. 1765-1769
    Received: May 18, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): dbullock@uiuc.edu
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Multidisciplinary Teams: A Necessity for Research in Precision Agriculture Systems

  1. David S. Bullocka,
  2. Newell Kitchenb and
  3. Donald G. Bullock *c
  1. a Dep. of Agriculture and Consumer Economics, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
    b USDA-ARS and Dep. of Soil and Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
    c Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801


Precision agriculture may offer great promise for the future, but extensive research is required if that promise is to be realized. The research will not be easy, for few, if any, individuals have sufficiently broad training in the many disciplines (e.g., economics, engineering, crop and soil sciences, pest management) required to design the experiments, interpret the data, and ultimately provide answers for the practical, economically oriented farm management questions being asked. We are convinced that many experiments would benefit, as ours did, from collaborative research conducted by multidisciplinary teams. From our effort, we learned much about the nature of precision agriculture, but we also learned about the nature of research and the value of expertise outside of our own areas. In the case of the former, we learned that precision agriculture is highly dependent on, and perhaps even defined by, engineering technology, but the profitable use of the technology depends on a thorough understanding of the physical and biological factors of the field and crop. It appears that much of the technology is only profitable when a producer possess very detailed field characteristic information. Unfortunately, the level of information required may be impossible to obtain for many of the proposed uses of precision agriculture technology. In the latter case, we gained an appreciation of the skills and expertise of those from other disciplines. We believe that multidisciplinary teams are a necessity for this work, and we recommend that the existing research community recognize this need and provide rewards for participation in interdisciplinary research.

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Copyright © 2007. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America