Moving precision agriculture to a new dimension: the ARS/CSU precision farming project at Wiggins, Colorado

Fleming, Kim L., author
Westfall, Dwayne G., author
Heermann, Dale F., author
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As more producers become aware of precision farming technology they are asking how it can improve productivity and profitability. There is a vast array of claims, beliefs, and testimony, yet little quantitative data to answer this question. Multi-disciplinary field scale research is needed in precision farming to answer the questions of productivity and profitability. The Agricultural Research Service and Colorado State University have begun a multi-disciplinary research program that focuses on developing a clearer scientific understanding of the causes of yield variability. We intend to develop decision support systems for site specific management. A team of 15 scientists covering the areas of soil fertility, crop production, weed science, entomology, plant pathology, system engineering, remote sensing, GIS, irrigation engineering, agricultural economics and statistics has started a project to develop a better understanding of precision agriculture in Colorado. They are collecting and analyzing data from 2 center pivot irrigated fields Cooperating farmers manage all the crop production operations and provide yield maps of the corn grown on the fields (175 and 130 ac.). The important variables for crop production have been sampled at several different intervals. Both fields have been sampled at a grid spacing of 250 feet. More intensive sampling has been done by various disciplines in smaller areas at a variety of scales down to 50 feet. Concurrent work, in cooperation with industry, is developing center pivot and linear move irrigation systems to apply variable site specific rates of chemicals and water. We will discuss the project and the various data layers being collected.
Presented at the Central Plains irrigation short course and exposition on February 17-18, 1998 at the Camino Inn in North Platte, Nebraska.
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