Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Sampling is an activity of obtaining information. The next major breakthrough in agricultural production will likely result from better applications of information. Sampling will be one of several processes at work to provide information that leads to better productivity. Several concepts that require the use of little more than a pencil, ruler, graph paper, and hand-held calculator are described for use with data acquired from sampling efforts. Readers are encouraged to use some of these methods with data obtained from fields they manage. The emphasis on analysis and the description of several hands-on-methods is what makes this chapter unique. The goal of the chapter is to help readers be more aware of the need to sample, become more skilled in the analysis of information, and be better informed to select and properly apply soybean sampling techniques.
Technical Abstract: Sampling is an extensively discussed topic in the culture of many crops including soybean. Thus, most sampling methods applicable to soybean production are already well described. Therefore, the primary focus of this chapter is to provide concepts that help one to implement a sampling plan and analyze and interpret its sample data. We believe teaching how to interpret sample data is the chief shortcoming of the sampling literature available to soybean producers. Our goal is to help the reader (i.e., a consultant, farm manager, or producer) better understand the sampling process and give guidance (through a few 'hands on' examples) on what to do with sample data acquired from soybean fields. To aid in the process, several sections provide descriptions of pencil and paper methods that can be applied to sample information. Applying these simple methods will build confidence and proficiency in sampling and interpreting skills. These skills will also help one to better read and understand a greater portion of the sampling literature available. The use of these analysis techniques may result in more insight (by identifying patterns) that could lead to the development of improved production methods. Several sets of data will be analyzed to illustrate key concepts about sampling. Some discussion is provided for a few of the more recent sampling concepts and techniques; in particular, those pertaining to site specific management (SSM), otherwise known as precision agriculture.