2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project: (1) determine if a topologically based general linear mixed model statistical approach is applicable for the analysis of the effects of site-specific and conventional management practices which occur at similar or different times and locations on commercial farms; (2) develop a cooperative project between a commercial farm and ARS research to determine if the proposed statistical/geographical information system (GIS) analysis process is applicable for commercial farms and if it can be formulated into a farmer/consultant friendly approach when crops are grown on a rotational basis; and (3) determine the utility of aplications of wireless technology to capture, share, and transfer spatial information about farm operations so that it strengthens the ability of farms to complete analyses of their farm operation.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Work will be done in fields on a cooperator farm that rotates crops. Define experimental units in a unique way so that independence among control and management treatments is achieved. The analysis process uses the spatial demographics modeled in the GIS to create zones of conventional agricultural practice within commercial production fields. Experimental precision agricultural practices are evaluated against conventional practices by use of smaller floating plots imbedded within the larger zones by spatially including the necessary information into a prescription file used by the VR controller. The various agricultural practices are evaluated using analysis of covariance to obtain regression effects describing the plot demographics. Using geospatial information the spatial correlation structure describing the relationships among plot residuals can be modeled. Wireless systems networks are developed to communicate commands and feedback information among personnel, computers, and field variable rate equipment.
Activities here mostly relate to development of wireless communication networks, with 2007 being the first year for planning and installation of the network. During 2008, the project completed the network and included collection of yield monitor data on several grain crops. 2009 was another year of yield monitor collection by the cooperator, but there was little other formal activity in this year. Beginning in 2010, with the ability of the farm to have RTK Real Time Kinetic (RTK) equipment for Global Positioning, efforts were begun to include this capacity to understand yield monitor data patterns with topography data obtained from the RTK system. Analyses were completed and findings published in several papers. Similar to the Good Longview Farm (as well as Perthshire) the lack of software and hardware ‘middleware’ was found to be a chief limitation for advancement of precision agricultural methodologies at the commercial farm level. For 2011, there is no further activity due to the retirement of the scientist within the unit responsible for wireless network related research. The ADODR monitored this project with discussions with the principal scientist involved in this research. Principal scientist has frequent contact with the cooperator.