Project Summaries

12-347  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes


Michael J. Buschermohle, University of Tennessee

Fields used for cotton production often have a high degree of variability in soil type, topography, soil moisture and other major factors that influence crop production. Site-specific crop management is a strategy that optimizes crop input requirements according to site-specific yield potential rather than averaging input requirements for the whole field. This management strategy divides fields into management zones based on realistic yield potential, thus making use of natural within field variability to apply varying rates of fertilizers, chemicals and/or seed to maximize farm profits while helping reduce potential impacts on land, water and energy resources. Soil fertility data from five cotton fields was analyzed to determine the potential of using site-specific soil sampling to reduce fertilizer input costs and impacts from cotton production on the environment. Field average rates for phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were calculated in ArcGIS from the variable rate application (VRA) maps and compared to the producer's traditional blanket application to determine reduction/increase in the amount of fertilizer applied. Normalized yield potential analysis was used to define management zones in five cotton production fields with either a continuous cotton or cotton and corn cropping rotation from multiple crop years. Fields were classified into three yield potential zones relative to the field average: low-yielding (0-80%), medium-yielding (81-110%) and high-yielding (> 110%). Yield potential management zones were compared to soil electrical conductivity (EC), soil fertility and field topography to determine the potential of using other types of spatial data to define management zones.


Project Year: 2012

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