story to find out more.
To make a weed map of a fallow field, plant
physiologist Lori Wiles sets up a camera and a GPS unit to collect images and
automatically record their locations. Click the image for more information
ARS Software Tackles Weeds
August 4, 2006
Weeds cant run, and they
definitely cant hide, thanks to new technology from Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) scientists that helps
farmers locate and eliminate weed patches.
Scientists in the ARS
Management Research Unit at Fort Collins, Colo., have developed two methods
to assist farmers in site-specific weed management (SSWM), selecting the best
management strategies for targeting weed patches in their fields.
Before investing in new technology, growers need assurance that the benefits
will exceed the costs without compromising weed control. Computer programs like
the ARS WeedSite can help farmers predict the results of specific SSWM methods
and select the best options.
WeedSite is a software program that evaluates the effects of SSWM on
irrigated corn cropping systems. It can be downloaded for free at:
Growers draw weed maps of their fields, which the program uses to calculate
the effects of various SSWM practices.
Wiles helped design WeedSite. She also worked with Fort Collins
Irvin, Geographic Information System programmer Terry Giles, Robert
Waltermire of the U.S. Geological Survey and
several local farmers to develop and test a simple, low-cost system for mapping
weeds in fallow fields.
By mounting a digital still camera and a Global Positioning System (GPS)
unit on a tractor, a grower can take photographs and match them with GPS
coordinates. The software identifies weeds within the photographs, then
constructs a weed map with links to the photos. This enables the grower to
easily view the weeds at specific locations in the field.
With a field weed map, a farmer can select appropriate herbicides, detect
new invasions and monitor changes in existing weed patches.
more about the research in the August 2006 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.