Fertilizer application is one of the most important operations in agricultural production. Traditionally, fertilizer is applied onto the whole farmland regardless of the variations across the land. Soil cores are taken randomly through the field and mixed into a single sample, which is then analyzed, and consequently a unique fertility recommendation is made in accordance with the results. However, with this new technology of precision farming, grid or zone sampling is employed to determine the variability of the farmland soil fertility and fertilizers at variable-rates are applied onto each of these grids or zones. In this study, economics of variable-rate fertilizer application in Turkish wheat production is examined, an investment appraisal and partial budgeting analysis is made to determine the applicable conditions for farmers. Applying fertilizer considering the variations in soil nutrients could be economically justified. The key factor for the implementation of precision agriculture is the degree of variability; highest variability easiest the implementation. The annual cost per hectare of the above equipment over a 5 year depreciation period, at an interest rate of 21% together with maintenance vary between $13 and $131 ha-1 for an area managed by the precision farming system of 500 - 50 ha. The benefits is of greater importance the additional costs of the investment in precision farming systems for only considering the yield varies between 10 to 1% due to the farmed area. Whereas, percentage was 37 to 4% for fertilizer saving. The costs of detailed soil sampling and analyzing is a barrier for collection from a dense grid of data points.
Key words: Precision agriculture, economic assessment, wheat production, variable rate fertilizer application.
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