Submitted to: International Soil and Water Conservation Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2006
Publication Date: 7/22/2006
Citation: Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Kremer, R.J., Sadler, E.J., Lerch, R.N., Myers, D.B. 2006. Targeting improved within-field water and soil quality using precision conservation. International Soil and Water Conservation Conference.
Technical Abstract: For over a decade (1991-2003), precision agriculture methods were used to intensively monitor crop, soil, and water quality information on a typical claypan-soil field in Missouri. Many field properties were found to vary greatly within this somewhat flat, uniform-looking field, including grain yield, soil fertility, topsoil depth, ground water nitrates, and soil herbicide persistence. We used maps of these properties to develop a crop management plan for the future that addresses site-specific problems. For example, we found that growing corn in field areas where topsoil depth was shallow was not only unprofitable, but these same areas likely contributed the most to runoff herbicide contamination. In 2004, we implemented the Precision Agriculture System (PAS) with multiple objectives addressing both production/profitability and water and soil quality. Within the plan, precision information was used to determine what production and conservation measures were needed, and where they should be placed. For example, in PAS shallow topsoil areas of the field will no longer be planted with corn nor will soil-applied herbicides be used there. Instead, these areas will be planted with wheat and a cover crop of clover, usually without herbicides. The goal of PAS is to manage sub-field areas based on information from multiple, intensive datasets, improving profitability while protecting soil and water resources. This presentation will describe PAS conservation measures and explore ways in which the information gained from this investigation can be extended to other similar crop-production fields.