DIFM team received a $4 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Our team has some BIG news! Read our full press release on Illinois ACES.

URBANA, Ill. – A University of Illinois research team, led by Agricultural and Consumer Economics Professor David Bullock, received a $4 million award from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement on-farm conservation practices.

The U of I project is entitled “Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation.” In collaboration with Washington State University’s Extension Program and cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers, researchers plans to deploy a data-intensive crop management system based on on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluation of the yield costs of reducing nitrogen losses, enabling data-informed input management decisions.

“The great thing about this award is that it gives us funding to make sure that every year we can increase the profits of participating farmers and their crop consultants,” Bullock says.

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The Furrow: Ag Research in a New Age

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.”

Read the full article by Larry Reichenberger on The Furrow: https://www.johndeerefurrow.com/2020/02/18/ag-research-in-a-new-age/

FarmWeekNow: Interview with Dr. David Bullock

Dr. Bullock, PI of the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project, was recently interviewed by FarmWeekNow following his presentation at the University of Illinois Agronomy Day.

A data management research team, which includes University of Illinois researchers, is helping farmers leverage their existing precision technology to conduct on-farm trials and enhance their management, according to David Bullock, U of I agricultural and consumer economics professor.

Bullock, who spoke Thursday at U of I Agronomy Day, leads the Data Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) research team that generates and analyzes agronomic data to improve how the world fertilizes crops. DIFM is in the fourth year of a $4 million research project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. -FarmWeekNow

Click here to read the full article by FarmWeekNow.

 

Bullock Invited to Speak at InfoAg Conference

DIFM Principal Investigator David Bullock gave an invited presentation, titled “The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project: Using Precision Technology to Get the Information Needed to Use Precision Technology Profitably,” at the InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, on July 25. The InfoAg Conference bills itself as, “The Premier Event in Precision Agriculture,” and features seminars by agribusiness and academia, along with display booths by companies that have entered the digital agriculture industry.  Approximately one hundred farmers, crop consultants, and professionals in the digital agriculture industry were in attendance.  Agribusiness professionals from the U.S., Australia, and Ukraine approached Bullock after the presentation, expressing interest in learning more about collaborating with the DIFM project.  His Power Point presentation can be found at: https://infoag.org/.

Pictured above is just a few of the exhibits in the Union Station. Over 1200 registrants attended the 2019 InfoAg conference, held July 23-25th. The InfoAg Conference has been a premier event since 1995.

Faces at DIFM: Mandrini Receives Outstanding MS Thesis Award

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.

Bullock and Curran present at the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Meeting

Dr. David Bullock (University of Illinois) and Keith Curran (Washington State University) traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Meeting held on April 1.

“In 2019, DIFM will run approximately seventy trials in ten U.S. states, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. DIFM is developing software that will allow it to “scale up” its data management, processing, and analysis activities, and provide a farmer-consultant decision tool that will allow the practical implications of the data analysis to positively affect the efficiency of farmers’ input management decision. DIFM is interested in exploring possibilities of working with other groups to develop a cloud-based research cyber-infrastructure that will aid researchers worldwide who conduct run on-farm agronomic research.”

Check out their full presentation, “On-farm Agronomic Research, Data Generation, and Modeling in the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project and Washington State Farmers Network.” 

 

DIFM in Farmdoc Series

DIFM was highlighted in an article on the University of Illinois Extension’s Farmdoc Daily website, written by Professors Jonathan Coppess and David Bullock. We’ve included the first paragraph, but follow the link above to learn more!

Nutrient loss in modern farming is a challenge that sits at the intersection of food production and the impacts of food production on natural resources (farmdoc daily, February 26, 2016; March 17, 2016).  Agricultural research represents an investment in solving such challenges through basic and applied research efforts, the results of which can be translated to farmers and industry through demonstration and outreach (farmdoc daily, August 23, 2018).  This article reviews USDA-funded agricultural research seeking to apply data, technology and a full range of science to the challenge of managing farm nutrients.

DIFM Travels to New York

Dr. David Bullock and graduate student Jaeseok Hwang went to New York to meet with Margaret Krause and Dr. Michael Goore of Cornell University and the Advanced Ag Alliance, a non-profit organization in New York dedicated to running on-farm whole-field agronomic trials with participating farmers. DIFM and the Ag Alliance agreed that DIFM would analyze and report on data from their experiments between 2015-2018, and will design approximately 20 trials for the Advanced Ag Alliance in 2019. These trials will focus on seed rate and seed variety. In return, they will provide funding for a grad student research assistant’s tuition and salary.

Jaeseok Hwang and Margaret Krause, meeting at Cornell University, to discuss Advanced Ag Alliance trials.

Following this, Bullock and Hwang went to Auburn, New York, to meet with farmer Todd DuMond. DuMond was the principal driver behind the Ag Alliance’s on-farm research project. DuMond has a BS and MS in Engineering from MIT, and is passionate about Data-Intensive Farm Management. They discussed field trial details.

DIFM grad student Jaeseok Hwang will conduct the statistical and economic analyses for the DIFM/Advanced Ag Alliance field trials in New York state.  Here, Jae is shown at the farm of farmer Todd DuMond, who founded the AAA.

First Look at New DIFM Publication

Professors David Bullock, Maria Boerngen, and Divina Gracia P. Rodriguez just received a first look at their accepted paper in the Agronomy Journal, titled “The Origins, Implications, and Consequences of Yield-Based Nitrogen Fertilizer Management.” Take a look!