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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE SITE-SPECIFIC SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT Title: Real-Time Sensor-Guided Sidedressing of Corn: Three Years of on-Farm Testing

Authors
item Scharf, Peter - UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
item Kitchen, Newell
item Sudduth, Kenneth
item Palm, Harlan - UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
item Shannon, Kent - UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 8, 2007
Publication Date: November 4, 2007
Citation: Scharf, P.C., Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Palm, H., Shannon, K. 2007. Real-time sensor-guided sidedressing of corn: three years of on-farm testing [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting, Nov. 4-8, 2007, New Orleans, LA. Paper No. 101-8.

Technical Abstract: Reflectance sensors offer a tool to diagnose spatially variable N needs and apply appropriate rates in a single trip through the field. Sensor-based systems are still in development, but are far enough advanced to be adopted by producers of corn and other crops. Over three years, we tested the performance of sensor-based variable N applications for corn in 38 field-scale trials. Plots were field-length strips, minimum treatment set was 1) the producer's normal N rate sidedressed and 2) sensor-based variable-rate sidedressing, and minimum number of replications was three. Over all trials, use of sensor-guided sidedressing reduced average N rate by 27 lb N/acre relative to rates currently used by these producers, but also reduced corn yield by nearly 2 bu/acre. Once technology and management costs are factored in, our results do not suggest any economic benefit to corn producers who adopt this practice. However, potential for N loss from the production system is almost surely reduced with no economic loss. This makes this practice an ideal target for conservation programs. Sensor-guided sidedressing has been approved for incentive payments under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program in Missouri for 2007. Results from 21 demonstrations planned for 2007 may also be reported.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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