By: Trey Colley, John Fulton, Jenna Lee, and Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Digital Ag Team
Digital agriculture technologies, connected devices, and sensor networks have enabled data-based decision making to be implemented at the farm level. The farm of the future will have increasing access to data and real-time analyses, allowing new insights related to in-season crop protection and nutrition management. Farmers of today already have many of these data sources at their fingertips through the use of connected smart phones.
Implementation of these digital tools and services during the growing season can potentially reduce the time needed to assess crop health, scout for disease, and evaluate cropping system performance. A recent infusion of in-field sensor systems are beginning to change the game for such in-season decisions through irrigation management, real-time soil nutrient assessment, and site-specific application of cropping inputs. Additionally, advanced scouting tools such as apps with geo-location features, and aerial imagery are being adopted to assist in crop nutrition and crop protection applications.
Spray technologies for in-season crop protection have also undergone recent developments even at the nozzle level. Pulse-width modulated (PWM) control for individual nozzles allow for reduction of spray overlap, skips, and drift during application at high speeds. Additionally, machine vision systems have proven see-and-spray technologies can reduce herbicide application by almost 90% in initial testing. These vision-based spray technologies use machine learning algorithms to detect both the type of weed and density of weed pressure to apply only a prescribed amount of herbicide to the identified area.
How can you use these data sources paired with sound agronomic knowledge to make informed management decisions? Find out at the 2019 Precision University Event on Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019 at Beck’s Hybrids in London. This year’s focus will be related to all practices and technologies used for crop management after planting. Topics of using imagery for scouting, as-applied spray documentation, and sense-and-spray technologies will be highlighted in speaking sessions of the day. Additionally, breakout sessions of “Decision making with aerial imagery,” and “Latest in nozzle technology” headline the afternoon session. For more information and to register at $50 per person, visit go.osu.edu/PrecisionU by Jan. 2, 2019. CCA/CEU credits are available.