What's Cropping Up? Blog

Articles from the bi-monthly Cornell Field Crops newsletter

Producer Involvement Crucial to Precision Agriculture Research Success

New York farmers know the challenges of growing grains on the highly varied soils of the State. Extreme changes in moisture, fertility, elevation, and acidity within a single field can make management decisions challenging for producers. The NYCSGA has set out on a mission to make these decisions easier for our producers by utilizing the technologies available on most modern equipment.

Fig. 1.  A 70 acre research field is harvested in Clyde, NY

Fig. 1. A 70 acre research field is harvested in Clyde, NY

Recent technologies such as split and variable rate planters, tractor mounted GPS, and yield monitors have given producers the ability to collect an extensive amount of information about their fields and crops. Until now, the research to utilize these data has lagged behind the rapidly developing technologies.

NYCSGA has partnered with several other organizations and companies including Pioneer, Cornell, and New York Farm Viability Institute to conduct this research here in New York. This research will focus around variable rate seeding, hybrid/variety selection, and their performance based on field soil properties. We are working closely with Cornell to develop a predictive model for New York State growers. The model will allow growers to select hybrids and create variable rate seeding prescriptions based on field specific soil properties, climate, and terrain.

To create this model, we are depending on grower participation to build the data set from. In the first two years of the project we have collected field scale trial data from over 2700 acres. In this coming season we aim to meet and exceed these numbers. Increased acreage allows for a more accurate representation of the interaction between environment, hybrid/variety selection, and seeding rate across the State. This analysis is crucial to utilizing agricultural technologies to increase crop performance and thus, producer profit.

Fig. 2. Example of an experimental variable rate seeding prescription in corn (ksds/ac).

Fig. 2. Example of an experimental variable rate seeding prescription in corn (ksds/ac).

Producers who choose to participate will work with the NYCSGA’s Research Coordinator to create a variable rate seeding prescription for all fields involved in the experiment (Figure 2). After the producer plants and harvests the crop, the data is downloaded from displays by a research assistant and used for analysis.   During the growing season, the crops will be monitored by the assistant to validate populations as well as scout for pest, disease, or water pressures. Other data such as elevation, soil classification, and soil fertility properties are also collected throughout the season.

The NYCSGA aims to work with the agricultural community and further develop this research into long-term benefits for the State. Producer participation is crucial to the continuation of these investigations. As we think ahead to the 2016 season, we are seeking more producer participants. If you are interested in becoming involved or would like the full report, please contact Savanna Crossman at (802) 393-0709 or savanna@nycornsoy.com.

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