Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 9, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Precision agriculture promotes the development of agronomic strategies for sub-field management zones that are subject to a unique combination of potential yield-limiting factors. This paper discusses the design, development, and evaluation of software for automating the process of delineating site-specific management zones. The software program Management Zone Analyst was developed using Microsoft Visual Basic and employs the fuzzy k-means unsupervised cluster algorithm for creating potential management zones. The software allows the user to select which variables are used in the classification and identifies the proper number of zones for a given field. Six claypan soil fields were used in the evaluation process. For each field, elevation, apparent soil electrical conductivity, and slope (factors that create spatially-variable plant- available water) were used as the classification variables. Measures of cluster performance indicated no advantage of dividing a field into more than three to six zones. Further analysis was conducted using measured combine-mapped grain yield. Year-to-year differences in the appropriate number of management zones using mapped yield data was attributed to weather and the crop grown.