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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 81 (2) 78-90 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2016/81.2.2
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2016 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Applications of precision agriculture in horticultural crops

M. Zude-Sasse1,2, S. Fountas3, T.A. Gemtos4 and N. Abu-Khalaf5,6
1Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim, Potsdam, Germany
2Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Berlin, Germany
3Department of Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
4School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
5Technical and Applied Research Center (TARC), Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie, Tulkarm, Palestine
6Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie, Tulkarm, Palestine

Farmer and consumer are driving the request for sustainable production of fruit and vegetables. Precision agriculture, the consideration of spatial and temporal variability for increasing the efficiency of resources, has been developed over the last twenty-five years and was initially applied to field crops. Its application to tree crops and vegetables started later and has been developing with an increasing number of publications as well as research calls in the beginning of the 21st century. First applications were described for mechanical harvesting of horticultural crops with commercial solutions for harvesting fruit that is subjected to processing. A review of methodical approaches and upcoming challenges for precise management of tree crops and vegetables are covered in this paper, addressing horticulturists as well as researchers working in precision agriculture. The precision agriculture domains with specific implications in horticultural crops captured are: data collection, yield mapping, remote sensing, quality mapping, and variable rate application. The spatial and temporal variability in orchards as well as effects of site-specific application of inputs are documented in this paper.

Keywords arable farming, horticulture, orchard, precision agriculture, precision farming, precision fruticulture, precision horticulture, quality, site-specific management, tree fruits, variable rate applications, vegetables, yield

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Obtaining spatial and temporal data have been targeted in the production of fruit and vegetables aimed at characterizing its variability and enable adaptive measures.
What are the new findings?
  • Approaches of data collection, yield monitor, remote sensing, quality mapping, and variable rate application are reviewed in the present paper.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • The concept of precision agriculture has been applied in horticultural research for 12 years. At the same time information and communication technology has been developed rapidly with the new challenges of big data and agriculture 4.0. The adaptive, precise management in horticultural production is part of it.

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Received: 23 November 2015 | Revised: 16 February 2016 | Accepted: 6 March 2016 | Published: 25 April 2016 | Available online: 25 April 2016

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