Crop management: How small do we go?

July 8, 2008

The use of on-the-go crop and soil sensors has greatly increased the precision with which farmers can manage their crops. Recently released research in Agronomy Journal questions whether more precise management is necessarily more efficient. They discovered that the law of diminishing returns applies to precision agriculture, calculating how large of an application area is optimal for precision management techniques. According to the authors, this change could present significant cost savings for farmers.

In their article, "Spatial Analysis of Early Wheat Canopy Normalized Difference Vegetative Index: Determining Appropriate Observation Scale," E.M. Pena-Yewtukhiw, West Virginia University; G.J. Schwab and J.H. Grove, University of Kentucky; L.W. Murdock, University of Kentucky and the West Kentucky Research and Education Center; and J.T. Johnson, Clark County Cooperative Extension Center, examine how precise sensor and application grids should be for optimal efficiency.

To determine the ideal amount of data needed for precision management, the researchers calculated the optimal combination of physical sensor density (number of sensors along the applicator apparatus) and sensor output density (sensor readings per unit distance along the travel path).

The researchers found that sensor grid size can be increased from the current smallest size of .5 square meters to 5.1 square meters with no significant impact on the overall mapping of a crop's canopy or field variation. The larger grid requires fewer sensors and makes fertilizer application easier and more cost efficient. This tenfold increase in grid size could have significant cost savings for farmers using precision management techniques.

Source: American Society of Agronomy

Explore further: COBALT flight demonstrations fuse technologies to gain precision landing results

Related Stories

Convenient and easy to use glucose monitoring and maintenance

March 14, 2017

A research group from the Center for Nanoparticle Research within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) has developed a convenient and accurate sweat-based glucose monitoring and maintenance device. The device's pH and temperature ...

Gearing up to track space debris

March 13, 2017

Space is filling up with junk. "It's not like there's a storm of metal and if you venture into space you're going to get clobbered," says Professor Russell Boyce, Chair of Space Engineering at UNSW Canberra. "But the risk ...

Contracts signed for ELT mirrors and sensors

January 18, 2017

At a ceremony today at ESO's Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope's giant secondary and tertiary ...

Recommended for you

Study: Early Americas girl 'Naia' may have been young mother

March 30, 2017

More details have emerged about one of the oldest sets of human remains found in the Americas, a young woman nicknamed "Naia" whose nearly complete skeleton was discovered in 2007 in a water-filled cave in Mexico's Yucatan ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.