Precision agriculture research could change field dynamics

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.

Bruce Schultz

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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
11/6/2019 11:38:46 PM
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