When asking the question “Will precision technologies pay on my farm?”, one of the first things to consider is the level of within-field yield variability present – if the field conditions are uniform there is no benefit from variable rate management. In order to estimate the level of yield variability needed to signal an economic benefit, a simple decision aid was developed. The decision aid requires a minimal amount of input information:
High and low yields within a given field in pounds per acre;
To make an estimate of potential savings from precision farming, the current analysis assumes areas of the field that are not profitable are removed from production. A discussion of the assumptions is presented in a later section of this user guide. This is a "beta" version of the decision aid; therefore, it should be one of many tools used in considering the adoption of precision technologies.
This decision aid requires Microsoft Excel version 5.0 or later (includes Office 97, 2000 and 2003); or Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac.