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Precision Agriculture: Precision Resource Management, Phase IV
Shearer, S. A., T.S. Stombaugh, C.R. Dillon, B.D. Lee, J.H. Grove, J.D. Green, J.J. Cox, M.R. Dzialak,S. Fei
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
The problem facing most Kentucky landowners and farmers is the lack of appropriate and cost effective strategies to manage scarce and variable resources in a site-specific manner. Specific efforts in this project are split between developing and advancing geospatial technologies in support of three thrusts: i) agricultural systems, ii) land use planning and decision-making, and iii) natural resource management in Kentucky.
These thrusts are addressed by specific objectives within eight subprojects: 1) A System for Implementing Dynamic Accuracy Standards for Machine Guidance Technology in Agriculture; 2) Development of a GIS-Based Model for the Generation of Pesticide and Nutrient Distribution Maps; 3) Tools for Increasing Machine Efficiency in Irregular Fields; 4) Licking River Watershed Assessment and Classification; 5) Surface Soil Hydrology: Management Driven or Map Predicted; 6) Gray Fox Ecology and Monitoring in Kentucky; 7) Harnessing Cell Phone Technology to Track the Black Bear in Eastern Kentucky; and 8) Identify Spatio-temporal Dispersal Corridors and Hotspots of Invasive Species.
2009 Project Description
Subproject 1: A mechanism for transporting GPS receivers around the test fixture was redesigned and implemented. The control system was updated to allow for the implementation of a dynamic signal reacquisition test. Software was developed to synchronize data flow from multiple sources including a GPS receiver and a ground based position sensor. Currently, the software has the capability to collect, verify, format, and display positioning and guidance data.
Subproject 2: Spray boom geometry and chemical distribution models have been developed and incorporated into ArcGIS to create coverage maps for six study fields. Pesticide application error maps have been generated based on turning rates of the sprayer and pressure variations across the boom during application. These data show that for the study fields, up to 23% of the field area may be applied at rates exceeding +/- 10% of the target rate due to turning variations alone.
Subproject 3: Major initial geospatial and statistical analyses are complete. A statistical cluster analysis of 17 indicators determined 11 clusters where the majority of the 804 sub-watersheds were grouped in just eight clusters.
Subproject 5: A graduate student has been hired to begin trapping and monitoring foxes on this project.
Subproject 6: A digital database has been created for the Weed Identification Program and a survey of invasive specimen from Kentucky herbaria has been conducted. Investigators are preparing a manuscript to describe the distribution of invasive weeds in Kentucky.
Subproject 7: Kentucky is the site of recent natural recolonization by the American black bear. Researchers fitted 15 black bears with GPS collars equipped with cell phone technologies (GPS-GSM) that transmit text messages to a central computer several times per day to evaluate whether these units would increase data recovery and collection as opposed to older GPS collar technologies that simply store data on collars that remain on animals and often fail or are never retrieved. Data from GPS-GSM collars have provided us with a reliable stream of data that depicts detailed locations of bears, allows higher resolution movement and resource patterns to be inferred, and that has informed both research and management decision-making on this small population. From these bear data researchers identified patterns of road avoidance and road crossing by black bears in the study area. We are finding and characterizing biases present in these GPS data sets, including fix interval effects on GPS collar performance, the accuracy of animal deployed collars versus stationary collars, differential performance reductions due to animal behavior, and sources of GPS bias in eastern Kentucky.
Subproject 1: Data concerning testing procedures has been made provided to the committee in charge of the ISO 12188-1 standard on dynamic testing of satellite based positioning devices used in agriculture. The standard will normalize the way manufactures report GPS receiver accuracy when intended for use agricultural field practices. This in turn will make it easier for consumers to select equipment based upon accuracy specifications which are verified using standardized methods.
Subproject 2: The investigators have been invited to present findings of this study to two sprayer manufacturing companies to discuss benefits and challenges associated with automatic boom section control. Off-rate errors during spray application have been known to cause the over application of chemicals that can have negative environmental effects.
Subproject 3: This project has the potential to help identify units of the river basin that are likely to behave similarly because of the human induced and geomorphic characteristics. Clusters can potentially be used in developing a more systematic basin wide monitoring network, mobilizing volunteer resources, and the development of subwatershed action plan development. Additional preliminary work has been explored for potentially prioritizing subwatersheds in order to apply Best Management Practices to address excess nitrogen and phosphorus in particular.
Subproject 4: Best management practices to alleviate soil P losses will need to be applied on a field-by-field basis, subsequent to sampling individual fields for their soil P and surface hydrology status.
Subproject 6: Knowledge gained from this project will help to reduce the cost of invasive control, reduce the threat of invasion on native ecosystem, and enhance the long-range sustainability, which will have long-term social, ecological, and economic benefits in Kentucky and beyond.
Subproject 7: Findings from this study have thus far indicated very high potential for data recovery from animals fitted with GPS-GSM collars. The reliability of this technology persuaded us to begin switching to this technology on GPS studies of other species (e.g. bobcat, elk) and to phase out older vhf and GPS collars on the Kentucky black bear project from funds acquired from other sources outside this grant. These streaming data have allowed almost immediate production of maps and inference of patterns that can elucidate animal activity (e.g. bear denning, bear use of dumpsters in urban areas, location of nuisance animals). As a result, state wildlife biologists and law enforcement have benefited from the near real-time potential of data to inform management decisions and activities concerning bears.
Augustine, B.C. 2010. GPS bias in resource selection studies: a case study using black bears in southeastern Kentucky. M.S. Thesis. University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Chung, H., J.H. Grove, and J. Six. 2008. Indications for soil C saturation in a temperate agroecosystem. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 72:1132-1139.
Jensen, R.A. 2009. The effects of roads on space use and movements of black bears in Eastern Kentucky. M.S. Thesis. University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Luck, J.D., S.K. Pitla, S.A. Shearer, T.G. Mueller, C.R. Dillon, J.P. Fulton, and S.F. Higgins. 2010. Potential for Pesticide and Nutrient Savings via Map-Based Automatic Boom Section Control of Spray Nozzles. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 70(1): 19-26.
Pena-Yewtukhiw, E.M., and J.H. Grove. 2009. Rotation and the temporal yield stability of landscape defined management zones: A time series analysis. p. 567-574. In E.J. van Henten, D. Goense and C. Lokhorst (ed.) Precision Agriculture 09, Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Precision Agriculture. Wageningen, Netherlands. 6-8 July. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Pena-Yewtukhiw, E.M., J.H. Grove, E.G. Beck and J.S. Dinger. 2009. Effect of soil and absence/presence of an abandoned feedlot on determining the area sourcing nitrate to a contaminated domestic well. Soil Sci. 174:56-64.