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Precision Agriculture: Precision Resource Management - Phase V
T.S. Stombaugh, M. Arthur, C.T. Agouridis, C. Barton, S. Fei, J.H. Grove
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
SP1: Results of this investigation will provide a solution to improve harvesting operation efficiency and safety by having a better control over the process of transferring the grain from the combine to the grain cart. A great benefit will come to small and medium sized producers that may already have adopted automatic guidance to a certain extent but would not be able to fully take advantage of more than one high accuracy steering system.
SP2: Agricultural producers will benefit from enhanced yield monitor systems which can provide accurate data for creating improved yield maps. Accurate yield maps can be used by producers as management tools to reduce crop, fertilizer and chemical expenditures by avoiding over or under application of crop inputs.
SP3: The proposed system will provide a new method for variable rate pesticide application on an individual nozzle basis creating a means to eliminate off-rate pesticide application errors resulting from changes in sprayer speed and velocity variations across the spray boom.
SP4: This project will benefit corn producers by helping them to determine if this NIR/NDVI sensing technology is useful in their production systems. A significant reduction in nitrogen on one million acres of corn in Kentucky would greatly increase nitrogen use efficiency and reduce the chances of nitrogen in the surface and groundwater.
SP5: A functional spatial classification system that both defines and delimits critical crop residue management areas for residue removal, or preservation, could be used by stakeholders (landowners, policymakers, regulators) interested in guiding and prioritizing implementation of practices designed to maximize agriculture's contribution to renewable fuel production while also reserving land resources.
SP6: This work will provide stakeholders with a web-based tool for visualizing land-assessment information. The accompanying educational material that is developed will help insure that citizens are trained to use these datasets to make better land-use decisions. We intend to leverage this funding to seek extramural support for the expansion of this work to other Kentucky counties.
SP7: A better understanding of the hydrology of headwater seeps will aid the KSNPC, Daniel Boone National Forest and other land managers in their efforts to manage and preserve these rare ecosystems. It is anticipated that the results of the proposed study will determine if enhancement or restoration activities are needed to maintain the hydrologic character and habitat of these sites.
SP8: The increasing use of prescribed fire as a management tool in the central hardwood and southern Appalachian forest regions will require improved monitoring to evaluate changes to forest vegetation across the landscape.
SP9: This project will connect the theoretical research of invasive ecology with on-the-ground invasive management activities by identifying and prioritizing urgent invasive control hotspot areas with a scientific-based analysis of invasive distribution, spread, and ecosystem invasibility and importance.
2010 Project Description
Subproject 1: A spatial model capable of simulating field coverage operations based on equipment parameters and field characteristics was developed and validated regarding off-target application area. With the developed tool, users can investigate the potential impact of automatic-section control.
Subproject 2: Laser ranging sensors were obtained and calibrated using solid surface and corn stalk targets at fixed distances. The ranging sensors were evaluated by using corn stalks and solid surfaces as targets under laboratory conditions. The ranging sensors have been mounted to a combine header for field evaluation during the 2011 cropping season.
Subproject 3: Results of preliminary tests on the modified VariTarget nozzle have indicated the potential for the nozzle to control flow rates based on the air pressure exerted on the outside of the plunger diaphragm. Digital control of the electronic air pressure regulating valve has proven to be successful at obtaining a wide range of flow rates at a constant carrier pressure. The nozzle discharge and spray pattern collection system is currently being designed for fabrication which will allow for more rapid data collection.
Subproject 6: A proof-of-concept web site has been created that allows web end-users to create overlays of soil interpretation maps (e.g., suitability for homes with and without basements) and land use data sets from other governmental organizations (e.g., FEMA flood plain maps) on aerial imagery (e.g., FSA-NAIP). Users click on points to understand not only the severity of limitations but also their causes (e.g., flooding, slope).
Subproject 7: Topographic maps for the three wetland seeps were developed. Surface area and potential seep volume were calculated for each seep. Soil samples were collected from the seep centers and analyzed for pH (1:1), particle size, CEC, chloride, organic carbon, extractable Fe and Al, and soil macronutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg). Each site was equipped with shallow monitoring wells that are sampled bi-weekly for water quality and stable isotope analysis. Stream channel cross sections below each seep were characterized using standard surveying procedures. Changes to the channel morphology over time will be evaluated.
Subproject 8: Landsat Thematic Mapper 5 images have been analyzed to calculate a number of spectral vegetation indices (SVI). True color aerial photos have been matched with plot-scale locations; buffered polygons encompassing each plot were created to capture a larger area of similar vegetation. The resulting polygons have been used to extract the corresponding SVIs and SVI differences. Plot-level data have been analyzed and are now available for regression analysis examining the relationships between field measured forest attributes and each SVI for all burn treatments and study sites.
Subproject 9: Researchers have developed an innovative methodology of mapping invasive species using feature based remote sensing tools and are in the process of obtaining region-wide remote sensing images to conduct a wall-to-wall invasive species classification, which is long sought by natural resource managers.
Subproject 1: A computer application for coverage simulation allows users to evaluate potential savings of cropping inputs (fertilizer, seeds, spray material) with the adoption of automatic-section control technology and/or varying coverage path orientations. Results of this research clearly show the potential savings to be achieved with the implementation of automatic section control technology, and that path orientation can have a significant impact on input errors resulting from point rows and headland encroachment.
Subproject 2: The data collected using the proposed cut-width sensing mechanism will aid in developing algorithms that can correct the yield monitor data. Agricultural producers will benefit from enhanced yield monitor systems which will provide accurate data for creating improved yield maps. Accurate yield maps can be used as management tools to reduce crop, fertilizer and chemical expenditures by avoiding over or under application of crop inputs.
Subproject 3: The proposed spay nozzle control system will introduce a new means to vary the rate of pesticide application, allowing crop producers to better manage off-rate application errors. Nozzle flow rate control has been proven, and it is anticipated that spray pattern and droplet size distribution tests will indicate an improvement compared to other proposed technologies. If successful, the use of these nozzle control technologies will allow producers to vary the amount of chemical injected at the nozzle while also controlling the spray pattern at lower flow rates, solving two major problems often associated with variable-rate sprayer technologies.
Subproject 6: NRCS has requested the development of a white paper that describes how we researchers will scale up the proof-of-concept web site to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and then nationally.
Subproject 7: A better understanding of the hydrology of headwater seeps will aid the KSNPC, Daniel Boone National Forest and other land managers in their efforts to manage and preserve these rare ecosystems. Anticipated results of the proposed study will determine if enhancement or restoration activities are needed to maintain the hydrologic character and habitat of these sites.
Subproject 8: Prescribed fire is being used with increasing frequency as a forest management tool in the central Appalachian hardwood forest region, often with little or no monitoring to determine whether the outcomes meet the management objectives. This research explores the use of remotely-sensed imagery for expanding the monitoring of forest dynamics following prescribed fire without requiring on-the-ground measurements, which are necessarily spatially-limited and time- and cost-intensive to acquire.
Subproject 9: Species mapping techniques will have wide applications in invasive species management. The results of this study will be used to make recommendations for natural resource managers in developing control strategies for invasive plants, facilitate a science-driven approach to invasive plant management at the landscape level, and provide a paradigm for identifying hotspot areas for invasive species management
Shouse, M.L. 2010. Identifying Spatial Patterns of Exotic Plants in Urban Ecosystems. M.S. Thesis. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.
Zandonadi, R.S., J.D. Luck, T.S. Stombaugh, P.M. Sama and S.A. Shearer. 2011. A Computational Tool for Estimating Off-Target Application Areas in Agricultural Fields. Trans. ASABE. (in press).