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Precision Agriculture: Precision Resource Management - Phase III
S. A.Shearer, G.J. Schwab, B.D. Lee
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
Economic and environmental pressures are causing natural resource managers, land use planners and decision-makers and agricultural producers to seek more competitive ways of managing scarce agricultural and natural resources. This project seeks to develop management approaches using GIS, GPS and VRT in combination to improve agricultural productivity and profitability while conserving and protecting the natural resource base.
2009 Project Description
Subproject 1: Opportunities were evaluated for precision agriculture machinery management potential which included the importance of the consideration of interactive effects, economic substitution possibilities, competition for resource allocation across alternative enterprises and the decision-makers attitude towards risk has been identified in preliminary research output. A refereed publication about the assessment of precision machinery management technology adoption provides evidence of initial research developments on this project.
Subproject 4: Between July 2007 and February 2008 three hundred sixteen trail riders completed the survey. Of these, 221 answered all major sections of the survey providing information about the total number of visits, and the explanatory variables including demographic information and frequency of visits.
Subproject 5: Over 1500 locations were surveyed in eastern Kentucky and with the help of volunteers and state agencies, investigators discovered 50 sites in eight counties that are positively infested with hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). A map of the distribution of hemlock in eastern Kentucky was developed using satellite images. Further, investigators developed HWA risk map for eastern Kentucky. A bio-control using a natural predator of HWA is being investigated.
Subproject 6: L. maackii appears to alter nutrient cycling, decomposition processes, and potentially the soil decomposer community in a variable manner dependent upon its association with specific dominant native tree species in the Bluegrass Savanna Woodland. If the effects of invasive species on certain ecosystem processes are strongly influenced by over-story species, this could suggest a novel approach to understanding the vulnerability of ecosystem processes to invasions of honeysuckle and potentially other invasive species.
Subproject 7: Plots consisting of either shale, brown weathered sandstone, gray un-weathered sandstone, or a mixture of shale and sandstones were constructed using the loose-dump reclamation technique. Plots were planted with native hardwood species including: white ash (Fraxinus americana), white oak (Quercus alba), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis), white pine (Pinus strobus), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), dogwood (Cornus florida), redbud (Cercis canadenis) and a blight resistant hybrid of American Chestnut (Castanea dentate var.). Topographic surveys were conducted following the construction of the plots and after one year. Height, diameter and survival were evaluated for all species and all plot types. The mapping of succession of naturally seeded species was performed using an experimental image analysis method and a traditional plot grid method. Species diversity and % cover was calculated for each plot.
Subproject 9: Software for animating wildlife telemetry data was successfully developed using the Java environment.
Subproject 1: An analytical tool was developed for assessing the economic potential of alternative auto-steer technologies with respect to increasing expected farm net returns and decreasing variability of farm net returns. Two scenarios were investigated including the addition of a bolt-on auto-steer system with a sub-meter receiver on a self-propelled sprayer and the addition of an integral valve auto-steer system with a RTK GPS receiver on a tractor. It was determined, for all risk levels, that both auto-steer scenarios were profitable and reduced the variability of expected net returns; hence auto-steer could be utilized in managing risk as well as enhancing net returns for the conditions investigated.
Subproject 4: Potential implications to policy include management of existing trails and planning for future trail development. By maximizing trail site characteristics (loop trails, at least 15 miles of trails, full service campsite at trailhead, open views, well marked trails, available water along the trail, and potential for wilderness camping along the trails) was shown to improve the annual visits an individual makes to a site.
Subproject 5: This work has raised public awareness about HWA infestation in Kentucky. The final hemlock distribution map and HWA infestation risk map will help to prioritize HWA management efforts.
Subproject 6: This subproject contributed to an improved understanding of the constraints on tree species regeneration in the bluegrass savanna ecosystem; elucidated the relationships between tree species, soil biota and nutrient cycling processes; examined the spatial impacts of invasive species on soil biota and nutrient cycling processes; and provide a better understanding of the often variable effects of invasive species by examining the interactions between an invasive shrub and the dominant native tree species within a given environment.
Subproject 7: The results of this subproject are critical to the Office of Surface Mining's Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, as efforts are undertaken to re-educate mining companies and regulatory authorities regarding what constitutes good forestry reclamation practices. These efforts will also assist in determining the appropriateness of spoil type for reforestation; a result that can have significant economic implications for mining firms and thus the reforestation of mined lands. Additionally, landowners and the public can benefit if the capability of mining firms to restore lands that will support productive forests is enhanced.
Subproject 8: Findings demonstrated that FLIR is an accurate, but expensive and logistically complicated method for surveying elk, and holds promise for surveying black bear in forested areas. Our data allowed construction of a population model for elk that was used by the state wildlife agency in establishing hunting zones and relative hunting effort, as well as for calibrating pre-existing population models.
Subproject 9: Project software will allow researchers and managers to visualize the interactions of study animals against a digital land cover background.
Poulette, M.M. and M.A. Arthur. 2009. Single-tree effects of savanna trees and the influence of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii on decomposition dynamics. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, August 2-7, 2009, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Abstract COS 45-6: http://eco.confex.com/eco/2009/techprogram/S4618.HTM.
Shockley, J.M., C.R. Dillon and T. Stombaugh. Auto-steer navigation profitability and its influence on management practices: A whole farm analysis. Proceedings of the 7th European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment. J. Stafford, ed. Wageningen, Netherlands. July 6-8, 2009. 751-757.
Ward, K.M. 2009. Influence of matrix geochemistry on Phytophthora detection on reforested mine lands in Appalachia. M.S. Thesis. University of Kentucky Library. 102 p.