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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1996-1998
1 Fluid Journal Spring 1997 Summary: Site-specific, high-yield management via a Global Positioning System is our future. It involves keeping good records, detailed yield data, "hands-on" knowledge of site-specific systems, sampling, scouting, and connection with the Internet. Most of all, it means higher yields and higher profits for those who commit. Dr. Harold E. Reetz, Jr. Reviving High-yield Production Systems Space-age technology is providing some important tools to help meet the challenges of the next century. There are sufficient reasons for reviving high-yield production systems. Increased world demand for food necessitates it. Growers are increasingly aware of the need. Untapped research information is more accessible than ever before. Both dealers and farmers are better trained. Finally, there is the new technology of site-specific management. Indeed, profitable and environ-mentally sound nutrient management planning may be enhanced by managing within-field variability. Site-specific nutrient management planning involves the recording of yield, soil test, and soil properties with a precise description of the location within the field where the data were collected (geo-reference). Nutrient applications are varied according to maps created from geo-referenced records of soil test values, soil yield potential, previous yield histories, and nutrient applications that can be coded into the computerized record-keeping system. The objectives of site-specific management are to: 1) identify and quantify variability, 2) understand the impact of variability, and 3) manage variability to increase profits. New computer software allows geo- referenced records to be analyzed and displayed as management maps. Computers use the maps to automatically change fertilizer rates and blends during application. The benefits of site-specific management for high-yield systems are: 1) more information about site, 2) in-field tracking of responses, 3) geo-referenced data sets, 4) ability to target treatments and vary rates of all inputs, and 5) ability to vary management system within field. The Tools Computerized records form an information source about cropping history, nutrient applications, and soil tests for individual fields. Each record is identified within a field by specific coordinates. Computer software, called "geographic information systems" (GIS), provides a means of graphically presenting, analyzing, and interpreting data, thereby linking management information and records to specific points within a field. Global Positioning System (GPS) of earth-orbiting satellites, established by the U.S. Government, allows field operations and measurements to be precisely located within an area during the operation (real time). Applications Soil sampling. By using GPS technology to pinpoint soil sample sites on a grid basis, soil test maps (through GlS) can be generated that then serve as the basis for GPS-guided variable rate nutrient applications. Trouble shooting. Pesticide application can also be guided with GPS methods to fit rates to soil types and to specific pest trouble spots in the field. Portable electronic scouting tools also allow instant on-site analysis of soil and crop nutrient status to aid in identifying management problems in a field. Reducing downtime. Electronic communication systems permit ready access to suppliers, advisers, and other information sources to provide support services and reduce downtime during critical seasons. Cellular phones, FAX Figure 1. Typical yield map.
Fluid Journal 1993-1995
Fluid Journal 1999-2001