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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Precision Agriculture Technologies for Cotton Production

Authors
item Hanks, James
item Wills, J - DREC-MSU
item Harris, F - DREC-MSU
item Jones, E - DREC-MSU
item Fisher, Daniel

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 2004
Publication Date: June 15, 2005
Citation: Hanks, J.E., Wills, J.D., Harris, F.A., Jones, E.J., Fisher, D.K. 2005. Precision agriculture technologies for cotton production. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. pg 2086-2091, CD-ROM

Interpretive Summary: Preliminary studies were conducted to investigate the use of precision farming technologies as a management tool in the production of cotton. The studies were conducted in a thirteen-hectare field with cotton grown under no-till production practices in rows spaced 1-m apart. The field was divided into three distinct production-management zones based on soil electrical conductivity (EC) measured with a Veris 3100 Soil Mapping System. Soil analyses were also conducted from 0.4-hectare geo-referenced grid sampling. Field boundary and thirty-two geo-referenced data collection points were mapped with a global positioning system (GPS). Aerial multi-spectral imagery was collected at various times throughout the season. Crop inputs were variably applied in the three soil zones throughout the season. Variable-rate application equipment is currently commercially available, but methods of collecting reliable information to develop prescriptions for the applicators is very labor intensive. Preliminary indications are that imagery obtained through remote sensing can be well correlated with some soil and crop conditions, but will require more extensive investigations to provide the reliability expected in a management tool for cotton production.

Technical Abstract: Studies were conducted at Stoneville, MS in a field consisting of approximately 32 acres (13 hectare) with cotton grown on 38-inch (1-m) row spacing under no-till production practices. Soil analyses were from 1-acre (0.4-hectare) geo-referenced grid sampling and geo-referenced soil electrical conductivity (EC) with a Veris 3100 Soil Mapping System. The field was divided into three production-management zones based on the Veris data. Field boundary and thirty-two geo-referenced data collection points were mapped with a global positioning system (GPS). Data collected at each point included: plant height, number of nodes, percent vegetation, plant tissue analyses, percent boll opening, and defoliation rating. Aerial multi-spectral imagery was collected at various times throughout the season. Results of these studies indicate site-specific application technologies have the potential to allow cotton producers to more efficiently manage cotton production and minimize the environmental impact to surrounding areas. Variable-rate or site-specific applications allow inputs to be applied as needed at a rate proportional to crop needs. Variable-rate application equipment is currently commercially available, but methods of collecting reliable information to develop prescriptions for the applicators is very labor intensive. Preliminary indications are that imagery obtained through remote sensing can be well correlated with some soil and crop conditions, but will require more extensive investigations to provide the reliability expected in a crop production management tool. New sensor-based devices are being developed that provide more efficient and rapid means of data collection. As these data collection technologies are developed and integrated with the variable-rate technologies, producers will have a system that provides rapid and reliable information resulting in a sound production management tool for cotton production.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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