Advanced Cropping Systems or “ACS” is Central Valley Ag’s (CVA) complete precision agriculture program. At the recent InfoAg Conference in Springfield, IL, Glen Franzluebbers, the program’s technical director, spoke to attendees about how the ACS helps guide customers hrough every step of precision agriculture from the basic beginning stages to the complex advanced stages.
ACS offers several services including grid soil sampling, variable rate application, and yield mapping/yield monitor support. Here’s a summary of each, according to CVA’s Web site.
Intensive Soil Sampling
Intensive Soil Sampling breaks your field down to 2.5 acre grids and reports the actual nutrient levels and fertilizer needs in every acre of your field. Lab analysis includes: pH, buffer pH, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, zinc, calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and Cation Exchange Capacity.
The intensive soil sampling process begins with creating a field boundary and overlaying 2.5 acre grids over the field. Then a soil sample is taken in the most representative area of each 2.5 acre grid, which consists of 6-12 cores per sample. The sample points are geo-referenced to allow us to return to the sample points in the future to re-test and evaluate the program.
Re-grid sampling is critical to a successful intensive soil sampling program. Re-grid sampling allows us to return to the original geo-referenced points to re-test and evaluate the intensive soil sampling program. When fertilizer and lime is variable-rate applied to intensively sampled fields, the nutrient and pH levels will change. The fertility program, original soil test levels, crop yields, crop removal, soil types, and weather conditions all play a role in how small or drastic of change there will be. Fertility recommendations are only as good as the soil tests, so it is critical to Re-Grid Sample fields after a 4 to 6 year period. Re-grid samples are as important as the original Intensive Soil Samples to ensure a continued successful ACS program.
Variable Rate Application
Fertilizer and lime are applied based on the soil test results from intensive soil sampling. Variable rate-application technology allows CVA to vary the rate and blend of fetilizer and lime on every acre of the field, while not over or under applying in any area. The key to profitablility is to achieve maximum economic yields while not wasting input dollars.
CVA has numerous multi-product air, single product air, and single product spinner floaters equipped with GPS to achieve the most accurate variable rate application.
Yield Mapping And Yield Monitor Support
Yield mapping using GPS gives you an excellent report of the actual yield and variablility throughout your fields. Yield mapping can help you determine strengths and weaknesses in your field and help to identify low yielding or problem areas. Once these areas are identified, causes can be determined and corrected.
Yield mapping can be used to compare and evaluate hybrids and varieties planted. Trends can be established with multiple years of yield data, and management decisions can be made based on these trends. Yield mapping can also be used as a “check” to monitor the benefits of a variable rate fertilizer and lime program.
Yield data can be used in combination with intensive soil sampling or other layers of data to establish variable yield goals, variable rate fertilizer prescriptions, or variable rate planter prescriptions. Multiple years of accurate yield data is a very important part of a “complete” precision agriculture program.