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/.
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.”
University of Illinois graduate student Aolin Gong attended the Illinois Economics Association 48th Annual Meeting. She presented her second year paper, “An Investigation into the Optimal Plot Length in On-farm Trials.”
Professor Bullock, in conjunction with members of the team behind the recent NSF INFEWS application, submitted the following abstract for consideration in the upcoming INLRS Annual Workshop’s Research Showcase:
We propose to create an integrated FEW model and with user-friendly software to 1) enable individual farmers to examine the predicted economic and environmental impacts of their fertilizer management strategies, and 2) provide policy makers with a user-friendly tool in order to design policies that will lead to efficient reduction of N-nitrate contamination in the Mississippi River Basin. The model will be based on the ideal CyberGIS computation platform, and expand to the scale of the Mississippi River Basin the DSSAT crop growth model and the SWAT water drainage model. The model will also integrate the BioScope model of biomass supply, and a partial equilibrium economic model of crop, energy, and biomass markets in the U.S. Midwest and beyond. We argue that the principal shortcoming of current agricultural “Big Data” is that there is little record of variance in managed input use. Of course, managing inputs efficiently is the whole point of farm management, whether the goal is to increase monetary returns or environmental sustainability. Therefore, we propose to parameterize our integrated model with data we generate from large-scale, on-farm agronomic field trials over an entire small watershed. Those trials will randomize N application rates and cover-crop management strategies to measure both yield and water quality results of varying these managed input variables. We will use the generated data with existing agricultural “Big Data” to create “decision tool” software to improve private and public crop fertilization strategies. The proposed research will rely heavily on the proven abilities and infrastructure of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies, and on the software, administrative capacity, and scientist-farmer relationships developed in an on-going USDA-NIFA Food Security project on data-intensive fertilizer management. In addition, we will provide opportunities for underrepresented undergraduates to gain research experience through an extension of the WE CAN program.
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?”
George Hoselton gave a presentation at the WERA-72 Annual Meeting at Kansas State University in June 2018, entitled “Voluntary Compliance: Encouraging Best Management.”