Project Summaries

10-650TN  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes


Michael J. Buschermohle, Brandon M. Jernigan, William E. Hart, John B. Wilkerson and Margarita Velandia, University of Tennessee

Recent developments in precision agriculture have included the introduction of Automatic Section Control (ASC) technology for planters. ASC utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) and coverage maps to turn on/off individual planter row units or sections of planter row units within predefined field boundaries, no-plant zones, and previously planted areas to eliminate double-planted areas that typically occur in end rows and point rows. The cost of adopting planter ASC depends on existing technology in the tractor cab (i.e., monitor and GPS receiver) and the precision desired by the producer (i.e., individual rows vs. sections of rows). Producers are interested in rate of return on investment they can expect after adopting this technology, which depends on factors such as field geometry, number of acres planted, and equipment operator accuracy. A two-year study was conducted that focused on three objectives: 1) Categorize fields based on percentage of double-planted area so that producers can have a visual representation of the types of fields they farm; 2) develop statistical and map-based models that can either predict or estimate the percentage of double-planted areas in fields; and 3) determine the influence that operator accuracy has on double-planting.

Real-Time-Kinematic (RTK) GPS position of the planter and planter status (i.e., planting or not planting) was recorded every one-tenth of a second in 52 fields across the state of Tennessee that totaled 1,725 acres. Planting maps were generated to calculate the minimum double-planted area that occurred in each field. Percentages of minimum double-planted area ranged from as low as 0.1% to as high as 15.6% with an average of 4.6%. Total minimum double-planted area across all fields was determined to be 54.7 acres. Results from the operator accuracy analysis indicated that equipment operators over-planted or under-planted at the start or end of each planter pass. Equipment operators typically lowered the planter too early at the start of a pass or raised the planter too late at the end of a pass 59% of the time by an average of 8.2 feet, resulting in double-planting. An average under-planted distance of 9.0 feet was observed 41% of the time when the operator lowered the planter too late at the start of a pass and raised the planter too early at the end of a pass, resulting in skipped areas.

Seed cotton yields from the single-planted plots were statistically different from the double-planted plots with rows crossing at 30, 60, and 90 degrees. These differences in yield were attributed to the fact that some plants in the crossing rows were not harvested due to the configuration of the picker header. However, angle of encroachment did not have a significant impact on the amount of cotton left behind in double-planted plots after a single harvest pass. After being picked a second time and having both picking weights combined, seed cotton yield averages in all double-planted plots were found to be statistically similar to the single-planted plot yield average.


Project Year: 2012

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