Precision agriculture tools could allow farmers to pinpoint crop varieties to specific locations in their fields.
Luciano Shiratsuchi, a precision agriculture specialist with the LSU AgCenter, is studying the relationship between plant and soil spatial variability and crop varieties.
“The testing is being done on-farm using different soybean varieties and corn hybrids,” he said.
Shiratsuchi said it’s possible to select the variety that can perform best on different soil types found within a field. The idea is to help farmers select varieties that best perform in different zones, he said. Because different varieties are planted side by side, it is possible to have a fair comparison in a zone.
He is using electrical conductivity sensors to determine variations of soil in a field that indirectly predict soil types, texture and organic matter. The data can establish parameters for building maps to be used for variable rate seeding.
A drone or airplane with remote-sensing equipment can be used to determine nutrient demand, he said, instead of conducting more costly and time-consuming soil and leaf tissue sampling.
Drones also can help determine plant populations, which indicate seed vigor.
At top, precision agriculture tools can create maps that reveal complex data, such as this map that shows soil electrical conductivity variability in a 200-acre commercial farm field. Bottom photo, remote sensing is used to show plant vigor differences. Photos by Luciano Shiratsuchi
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture