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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 2005-2007
mechanism is in place for the fertilizer industry to effectively handle the sampling/crop production recommenda- tion phase of any nutrient management planning program. Precision agriculture programs have been a key development of the fertilizer industry over the past 15 years. Several million acres of agricultural production currently use some form of precision agriculture. Grid or management zone- based soil sampling and yield monitor- ing can play an important role in the nutrient management planning process. In most cases, the level of nutrient management provided through precision agriculture far exceeds the minimum needed to fulfill state and federal nutrient planning program requirements. Not only do precision agriculture programs provide spatially driven nutrient recommendations, as well as application and product recommenda- tions, but many are also designed to record and summarize extremely large data sets. As the industry learns how to interpret these data sets, it is in position to use trend analysis of local, regional, national, and international information to enhance the effectiveness of the nutrient management planning commu- nity. Training. There are many programs available to the fertilizer industry to help it fulfill formal state and federal nutrient planning needs. In most states, a combination of training programs/forms/ computer software and technical support is offered through university extension, NRCS, and private sector efforts. Samples of contacts for more information are www.oznet.ksu.edu/ library/crpsl2/pm-47.pdf, www.agry.purdue/mmp, or www.cares.missouri.edu/SNMP. Dr. Tracy is director of agronomy technical services for MFA Incorporated, Columbia, Missouri. Winter 2005 Fluid Journal 3
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