Precision irrigation and harvest management in orchards: an economic assessment

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Precision management has become vital in agriculture with possibilities growing alongside developments in information and communication, robotics and sensor technologies. On the other side of expected benefits of precision management in terms of environmental friendliness, yield margin, input efficiency, etc., is the upfront expensiveness of such technologies. There is hence a need to quantitatively assess expected net benefits and provide useful information for farmers and stakeholders to enable informed choice on the potential adoption of precision technologies and management practices. This study presents economic assessment of precision irrigation and harvest management system with integrated use of sensor technologies and Farm Management Information System (FMIS) as compared to conventional practice applying partial budgeting as a tool. Relevant scenarios are defined based on data from an experimental apple orchard field situated in Prangins, Switzerland. The precision management system is found to be economically justifiable in situations of high demand for irrigation characterized by limited rainfall and considerable variabilities in weather conditions. Its economic feasibility is found to be sensitive to changes in fruit price and capital cost.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Central European Agriculture
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1009-1022
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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