Precision Agriculture (PA) is a modern agricultural technology which pertains to the application of appropriate, or even optimum, rates of agricultural inputs, such as agricultural chemicals,water and seeds,in the appropriate places in agricultural fields. This is to precisely tailor the application rates to fit the needs of different field locations; there fore, under and over applications of agricultural inputs can be avoided or greatly limited. The main desired results expected from adopting this technology include an increase in the agro-economic efficiency by increasing the overall accuracy of agricultural input applications, and a decrease in the environmental pollution caused by agricultural chemicals by regulating the application rates of these chemicals. This technology is of a great importance as it is widely appliedin most countries of the developed world,such as the USA and Europe, especially under the global circumstances of diminishing resources and increasing public concern about the environment and its pollutants.
Inrecognition and appreciation from King Saud University (KSU) to the importance of the PA technology to agricultural and environmental sectors,and in order to cope with the global advances in this subject, Precision Agriculture Research Chair (PARC) was established at KSU in June 2009. The principal duties of the chair can be grouped into three main aspects. The first aspect deals with forming and raising, through specialized workshops and training, the level of under standing and awareness of the society in general, and farming community in particular, of the PA technology and its economical and environmental importance. The second aspect; however, is related to conducting laboratory researches and field studies in the different applications of the PA technology in the Saudi agricultural fields. The importance of this aspect lies in the results and recommendations produced by the researches and studies, which are expected to significantly contribute into the efforts exerted to reach optimal exploitationof natural resources, such as water, which is a scarce resource that is extensively depleted in the Kingdom. The researches and studies are also expected to lead to recommendations regarding the optimum application rates of agricultural chemicals to different fields or different field locations. Therefore, excessive amounts of chemicals can be avoided and environmental pollution can be reduced. For instance, the amount of nitrogen can be regulated to avoid the existing pollution of ground water caused by excessive amounts of this chemical applied, over a period of several years, on agricultural fields in Saudi Arabia. The third aspect involves the active participation, nationally and internationally ,in the scientific efforts and researches related to the field of PA. Scientific collaboration with scientists, specialists and scientific institutions in the Kingdom, as well as with international scientists and scientific centers that are recognized by the PA related scientific activities. Visiting professor program, joint collaborative research work and mutual scientific visits are all utilized to benefit from the international experiences and researches for the promotion of local scientific research in the field of PA, and to transfer this technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.