DIFM at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture


Laila Puntel, of Iowa State University, and Brittani Edge and Aolin Gong, of the University of Illinois, presented at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture in Montreal. Puntel stated, “It was great to see such a big community from all over the world…people from Australia, Germany, Belgium, South America, Canada, and US.”

In order to collaborate internationally, scientists from Curtin University in Australia organized a consortium for on-farm experimentation, to which Puntel was invited. This partnership will allow the DIFM project to be connected with OFE in different countries.

Montana State University- and University of Montana-based researchers affiliated with DIFM also shared their research: Amy Peerlinck, John Sheppard, and Bruce Maxwell gave a presentation titled “Using Deep Learning in Yield and Protein Prediction of Winter Wheat Based on Fertilization Prescriptions in Precision Agriculture,” and Bruce Maxwell, Paul Hegedus, Anton Bekkerman, Robert Payn, John Sheppard, Nicholas Silverman, and Clemente Izurieta gave a presentation titled, “Can Optimization Associated with On-Farm Experimentation Using On-Farm Experimentation Using Site-Specific Technologies Improve Producer Management Decisions?”


Personnel Changes: New Faces On the DIFM Project

Due to their significant effort to date, we have officially added three scholars to the DIFM project. Dr. Nicolas Martin, Assistant Professor in Quantitative Agronomy in the Department of Crop Sciences, will participate in DIFM trial design and statistical analysis of the data generated.

Dr. Haiying Tao will work with DIFM trial designers to take the practical aspects of running trials in the Pacific Northwest, and will supervise the implementation of Washington and Idaho wheat trials. Laila Puntel will communicate with cooperating researchers and participating farmers in Argentina, and will concentrate on experimental design and data analytics from those trials.

Nicolas Martin’s undergraduate degree is in Agronomy at University of Mar del Plata; his graduate studies at the University of Illinois focused on studying Soil-Plant relationships with multivariate analysis and spatial statistics. After graduation, Martin worked for more than 10 years in the seed industry developing drought-tolerant corn hybrids and using large geospatial datasets to position trials and soybean varieties in the marketplace. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, he hopes to improve the long-term profitability and stability of cropping systems by exploring applications of quantitative methods on big data. He is interested in interdisciplinary efforts to expand the frontiers of agricultural research and study effective approaches to implement new insights and discoveries in agricultural decisions and operations.

Laila Puntel graduated from the National University of Mar del Plata in Balcarce (Buenos Aires) with a BSc in Agronomy. She got a MS degree in Crop Production and Physiology at Iowa State University and is currently pursuing a PhD degree. Her research focuses on customizing a cropping system model as an in-season tool to support management decision-making and means of improving nitrogen management decisions in maize production systems. She is the co-founder of and leads research and development at Clarion, a precision agriculture consulting company in Argentina, where she has worked with site-specific nutrient management based on soil mapping and analysis.

Haiying Tao is an assistant professor of Soil Fertility and Residue Management in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at WSU. Her research programs focus on fertility management and strategies to improve soil health for WA agricultural systems. She is currently leading an effort to develop a farmer’s network, which will be a platform for information sharing, participatory learning and on-farm research using precision agricultural technologies.