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Using Spatial Analysis to Study the Values of Variable Rate Technology and Information


  • Bullock, David S.
  • Lowenberg-DeBoer, James


We present a review of the last few years' literature on the economic feasibility of variable rate technology in agriculture. Much of the research on this topic has involved the estimation of site-specific yield response functions. Data used for such estimations most often inherently lend themselves to spatial analysis. We discuss the different types of spatial analyses that may be appropriate in estimating various types yield response functions. Then, we present a taxonomy for the discussion of the economics of precision agriculture technology and information. We argue that precision agriculture technology and information must be studied together since they are by nature economic complements. We contend that longer-term, multi-location agronomic experiments are needed for the estimation of ex ante optimal variable input rates and the expected profitability of variable rate technology and information gathering. We use our taxonomy to review the literature and its results with consistency and rigor.

Suggested Citation

  • Bullock, David S. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, James, 2006. "Using Spatial Analysis to Study the Values of Variable Rate Technology and Information," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25393, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25393

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hurley, Terrance M. & Oishi, Kikuo & Malzer, Gary L., 2005. "Estimating the Potential Value of Variable Rate Nitrogen Applications: A Comparison of Spatial Econometric and Geostatistical Models," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(02), August.
    2. Luc Anselin & Rodolfo Bongiovanni & Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2004. "A Spatial Econometric Approach to the Economics of Site-Specific Nitrogen Management in Corn Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(3), pages 675-687.
    3. Neil R. Miller, 2006. "Is Site-Specific Yield Response Consistent over Time? Does It Pay?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 471-483.
    4. Bullock, David S. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, Jess & Swinton, Scott M., 2002. "Adding value to spatially managed inputs by understanding site-specific yield response," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 233-245, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mkondiwa, Maxwell Gibson, 2015. "Whither Broad or Spatially Specific Fertilizer Recommendations?," Master's Theses 237344, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    2. Bullock, David S., 2013. "Simulating the Value of Information Generated by On-farm Agronomic Experimentation Using Precision Agriculture Technology," Proceedings Issues, 2013: Productivity and Its Impacts on Global Trade, June 2-4, 2013. Seville, Spain 152370, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    3. Hough, Ella Christina & Nell, Wilhelm T. & Maine, Ntsikane & Groenewald, Jan A. & van der Rijst, M., 2010. "Best fit model selection for spatial differences (regression) in the profitability analysis of precision phosphate (P) application to winter cereals in Precision Agriculture (PA)," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 96642, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE);Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).

    More about this item


    precision agriculture; spatial econometrics; variable rate technology; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; C31; O33; Q16;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services


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