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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #369551

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems on Spatially Variable Landscapes and Soils

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Pushing the Boundaries with Planting Sensors

item CONWAY, LANCE - University Of Missouri
item RANSOM, CURTIS - University Of Missouri
item Kitchen, Newell
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken
item MYERS, D. - Corteva Agriscience
item LINDSEY, ALEXANDER - The Ohio State University
item CARTER, PAUL - Retired Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2019
Publication Date: 11/10/2019
Citation: Conway, L., Ransom, C., Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Myers, D.B., Lindsey, A.J., Carter, P.R. 2019. Pushing the Boundaries with Planting Sensors [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual International Conference, November 10-13, 2019, San Antonio, Texas. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Integration of reflectance and temperature sensors into commercial planter components have allowed for a dense quantification of within-field spatial variability. This estimation of variability can now guide real-time management decisions, such as on-the-go variable rate applications (VRA) of seed and starter fertilizer. However, little is known about sensor performance across a range of environments. Therefore, a study was conducted in Missouri on multiple sites in 2018 and 2019 to determine (i) how well these sensors can estimate soil properties (i.e., moisture, temperature, and organic matter (OM)) and (ii) whether sensor output could be used to improve agronomic management. Research was performed with two planters across a range of planting depths, soil texture, and productivity. Data were collected in situ with soil reflectance (visible and near-infrared) and thermopile temperature sensors (Precision Planting SmartFirmer) on-the-go during corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) planting. Measured soil temperature was collected with a handheld thermocouple sensor and soil samples were collected for OM at a 0-15 cm depth. Results showed that at constant planting depth, soil temperature and OM were slightly overestimated by the SmartFirmers when compared to measured data. Both furrow properties were negatively correlated with planting depth. The SmartFirmer furrow moisture was an indicator of the evenness of corn emergence across sites. The most uniform emergence was observed when SmartFirmer moisture exceeded 40%. This would suggest that operators target 40%, rather than 20 or 30% recommended by the manufacturer, during corn planting to achieve optimal emergence uniformity. SmartFirmer OM was not related to whole field yield potential, but within-field correlations were observed. These preliminary results suggest that soil moisture and OM estimated by the SmartFirmer may be valuable tools for capturing soil spatial variability and guiding VRA, but that further evaluation is needed for proper implementation.