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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CROP AND SOIL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR WATER QUALITY PROTECTION AND AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Project Number: 5440-12130-010-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 27, 2007
End Date: Sep 30, 2011

Objective:
Objective 1: Develop guidelines, protocols, and management strategies for in-season N application to improve N use efficiency, optimize profitability, and protect water resources. a. Develop active crop canopy sensor use procedures for in-season N management. b. Develop algorithms for efficient application of N. c. Develop decision aid for efficient application of N. Objective 2: Develop cropping schemes and management strategies to remove excess N from the soil system.

Approach:
Objective 1 a. At a network of field sites managed by ARS and university scientists, sensor assessments, chlorophyll meter readings and grain yield data will be collected from corn receiving different rates and timings of N fertilizer to determine the most appropriate 1) distance from canopy to position sensors, 2) phenological growth stage, and 3) vegetation index for maximum sensitivity in assessing variation in corn canopy greenness or N status as well as grain yield response. b. Data collected from network field studies will be used to develop a robust algorithm that can be used to convert sensor readings into appropriate in-season N application rates for various corn vegetative growth stages that improves fertilizer N use efficiency. c. Through additional on-farm studies, a decision aid will be developed that uses apparent electrical conductivity, soil color images, and yield maps to incorporate soil- and climate-based adjustments to the basic sensor algorithm to customize N application recommendations for site-specific conditions. Objective 2: Field studies will be conducted to identify optimal irrigation, N fertilizer, and disease management strategies utilizing winter wheat in relay crop schemes to remove excess nitrate from the soil system and maintain economic viability.

Last Modified: 8/2/2014
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