Source: Agricultural Research Service
A new way to make topographic maps with radar can help farmers divert more of their resources to the highest-yielding parts of their fields, according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist.
James McKinion, an electronics engineer at the ARS Genetics and Precision Agriculture Research Unit at Mississippi State, Miss., did the study with entomologist Jeff Willers and geneticist Johnie Jenkins at the ARS unit in Mississippi.
With the maps fed into computerized, variable-rate fertilizer applicators, precision farmers can divert more of their costly fertilizer to the highest-yielding zones and the least to the lowest-yielding zones. They can also use the zone maps to make other decisions, such as planting more drought-tolerant varieties in low-yield zones or sowing less seed.