Talon Becker is a University of Illinois Extension Commercial Agriculture Educator working with the Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) project to help farmers conduct their own on-farm trials throughout Illinois.
What seeding rate and/or fertilizer rate will result in the best possible yield for my field? This is one of the many questions that farmers ask themselves every year and that researchers and agronomists have been trying to answer for decades.
Numerous environmental and genetic hybrid or variety factors, either on their own or through interaction with each other, influence the actual optimum seeding and fertilizer rates for a given field or section of a field.
This is not a new concept. The influence of genetic and environmental variation and the interaction of these two major factors, often denoted as “GxE,” have been recognized since the early days of modern agronomic research.
Until recently, the best tools at the disposal of agronomists and agricultural researchers for estimating and accounting for the influence of these sources of variation in the estimation of optimal levels of a given agronomic input, such as seeding rate, have been multi-site and multi-year replicated trials.
The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project was featured in the recent February edition of The Furrow.
Precision ag technology is spurring a dramatic change in agricultural research. It’s replacing the time-consuming test plot techniques of the past – the marking flags, tape measures, weigh wagons, and grad students – with today’s automated computer files, variable-rate controllers, and yield monitors. These new tools are empowering growers to easily and economically generate data that makes on-farm research a reality.
“This new approach is a real game-changer,” says David Bullock, agricultural economist at the University of Illinois. “The future could see farmers conducting experiments on their fields as routinely as they now take soil samples. The result will be management recommendations based on field data, rather than a ‘rule of thumb’ recommendation.”
My name is Emanuel Hernández Cornejo and I am from Panama, located in Central America. I started my education at 5 years old at a school close to my neighborhood because my parents wanted to give me the education they never had. At the beginning of my studies, I was not a dedicated person because I did not know what I wanted to do. However, after some advice and time, I understood that the best way to reach my goal is through further education. Years later with a few months left in high school in Panama, after I had focused on one path, I won a scholarship under the branch of agriculture from a university in Honduras. Thanks to this aid, I was not only able to continue my education, but also experience a new culture and new people. It was there that I learned new knowledge about the earth, animals, and the importance behind all of these things. More specifically, it taught me how the world is advancing technologically which will lead to great changes in humanity.
Congratulations to DIFM’s German Mandrini, recipient of the Agricultural and Consumer Economics “Outstanding M.S. Thesis” 2018 award for his thesis titled, “Using Crop Simulation to Optimize Variable Rate Experimentation.” Mandrini studies under Dr. David Bullock.
Pictured above is German Mandrini receiving his award with Dr. Bullock at the Award Ceremony.