Comparative Analysis of Precision and Conventional Arable Crop Production

Molnár, András – Kiss, Andrea – Illés, Ivett – Lámfalusi, Ibolya

Keywords: precision arable crop production, efficiency, sustainability, return on investment, Q10

The questionnaire survey c arried out among 1000 arable crop farms registered by FADN of the Research Institute of Agricultural Economics confirmed that the spread of site-specific arable crop production in Hungary has accelerated over the past two-three years, but the technological application is not widely used. Studies based on the financial and management data of precision farms have shown that precision farming resulted in yield surplus and higher profitability for the main arable crops (winter wheat, maize, sunflower, oilseed rape), and in many cases, it had cost benefits compared to the traditional cultivation. As a result of the more precise technology and the reduced overlapping cultivation, it would be generally expected that the technological change would reduce the input usage. Our examinations have just confirmed the opposite; as for yields, there was a surplus in the level of input usage for farms that had changed to precision technology. However, in most cases, the increase in yields was significantly higher than the increase in expenditures, which resulted a significant increase in profits. The purchase of machines with precision capabilities and the use of the right input is not enough for the effective application of precision technology. It is not a homogeneous technology which brings the same results under any circumstances if applied the same application way. It is important to emphasise that individual technology operations need to be adapted to the local natural conditions. Serious professional skills are needed to achieve the desired results, so introducing the technology with the help of an agricultural consultant is advisable. Expected benefits can be reached only by the appropriate use of the technology.

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