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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Conservation Systems Research for Improving Evnironmental Quality and Producer Profitability

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Evaluation of agronomic and economic benefits of using RTK-GPS-based auto-steer guidance systems for peanut digging operations

Authors
item Ortiz, Brenda -
item Balkcom, Kris -
item DUZY, LEAH
item Van Santen, Edzard -
item Hartzog, D -

Submitted to: Precision Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 3, 2012
Publication Date: July 10, 2013
Citation: Ortiz, B.V., Balkcom, K.B., Duzy, L.M., Van Santen, E., Hartzog, D.L. 2013. Evaluation of agronomic and economic benefits of using RTK-GPS-based auto-steer guidance systems for peanut digging operations. Precision Agriculture. 14(4):357-375.

Interpretive Summary: Increasing the peanut digger efficiency by accurate placement over the target rows could minimize damaged pods and yield losses. Producers have traditionally relied solely on tractor operator skills to harvest peanuts. However, as peanut production has shifted to new growing regions in the Southeast US, producers face difficulties digging peanuts under conventional and new management schemes. The present study aimed to: (i) determine the effect of row deviations from the target row on peanut yield and quality, and (ii) determine the economic value of using autoguidance systems to avoid tractor deviations during peanut harvest. Higher yields and net returns resulted from using the autoguidance system. Overall, yields were higher for the conventional tillage and twin row pattern treatments compared to the other treatments. The use of an autoguidance system will allow growers to capitalize on the increases in yield potential by implementing changes in tillage and row patterns as those evaluated in this study.

Technical Abstract: Increasing the peanut (Arachis hypogea L.) digger efficiency by accurate placement over the target rows could minimize damaged pods and yield losses. Producers have traditionally relied solely on tractor operator skills to harvest peanuts. However, as peanut production has shifted to new growing regions in the Southeast US, producers face difficulties digging peanuts under conventional and new management schemes. The present study aimed to: (i) determine the effect of row deviations (RD) from the target row on peanut yield and quality, and (ii) determine the economic value of using autoguidance systems to avoid tractor deviations during peanut harvest. The study consisted of a randomized complete block design of tillage (conventional [CT] and strip tillage [ST]), row patterns (single [SR] and twin [TWR]) and RD (RD0cm, RD9cm, and RD18 cm). The RD9 cm and RD18 cm treatments exemplify manual driving deviations compared to using an autoguidance system (RD0cm). Higher yields and higher net returns resulted from using the autoguidance system. Data showed that for every two centimeters row deviation an average of 186 kg ha-1 yield loss can be expected. Overall, yield was higher for the conventional tillage and twin row pattern treatments compared to the other treatments. Yield losses for the SR-CT treatment were higher as the row deviation increased respect to the TWR-CT treatment. In contrast, higher yield losses for TWR-ST compared to SR-ST were observed when deviations of 18 cm occurred instead of digging using the autoguidance system. A farmer using an autoguidance system with an accuracy within 2.5 cm (RD0 cm) could potentially expect net returns between 94 $ ha -1 and 404 $ ha -1 respect to row deviations of 9 cm, and between 323 $ ha -1 and 695 $ ha -1 by avoiding row deviations of 18 cm. Therefore, the use of autoguidance system will allow growers to capitalize on the increases in yield potential by implementing changes in tillage and row patterns as those evaluated in this study.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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