The function of DSS in precision farming is a very hard topic to be explored, but one that is extremely important for its uselfuness. Drawing inspiration from Buridan’s ass paradox in the quote, it is essential first of all to highlight a key factor for the proper management of the farm: the decisions to be taken to respond to any emergencies and/or changes in the pre-established plans.
So far, choices have been made using established practices, but relying exclusively on traditional methods could compromise the harvest.
Due to drastic and sudden climate changes, technological evolution and innovation in cultural practices are no longer an option, but a necessity that allows the farmer to be competitive, not passively suffering adversities.
In the case of the paradox mentioned above, the farmer, in ass’ shoes, would have taken a repetitive decision: he would always have chosen the same pile because his father or his neighbours did and do so. A technical look would have allowed him to notice the presence of another heap perhaps with a higher energy input: the aim of DSS is nothing more than to describe the characteristics of each heap of hay, without imposing a choice (which must be taken by technicians and farmers), but providing support to it.
The effects of an incorrectly considered choice can have a negative impact on the farm by compromising: the harvest, profits, employees’ wages and the survival of the farm itself.
Science and statistics have undermined magic and chiromancy by creating a crystal ball 2.0: the DSS.