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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #78148


item Kitchen, Newell

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Application of agrichemical inputs using precision agriculture strategies improves fertilizer and herbicide crop-use efficiency by minimizing over and under-application. It is believed that elimination of over-application through precision agriculture will result in environmental protection of water resources. However, the magnitude of the environmental benefit has been questioned. Quantifying environmental improvements through precision agriculture is complicated by researchers' limited ability to compare it with conventional methods in a field-size setting. To do so requires identical fields to test the two management systems and expensive field level water monitoring equipment and resources. Because of these constraints, indirect methods and techniques are being employed to answer the question. In Missouri, cooperative research between the MU College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and USDA-Agriculture Research Service has focused on developing methods for variable-rate N fertilizer. Recommendations rely heavily on a yield goal to synchronize application rates and crop needs. However, several factors can cause yield to vary as much as 100 percent within fields. Lower yielding areas are associated with post-harvest soil nitrate-N that can leach into groundwater over winter. The benefits precision agriculture will have for water resources will be reviewed through these Missouri studies and the handful of other published Midwest studies.