Cotton Growers: On-The-Go With Precision

Dr. Ed Barnes, director of agricultural research at Cotton Incorporated, says that the big precision agriculture research focus for the organization in 2008 will be on-the-go sensor technology. The equipment, first built by Greenseeker and now also manufactured by CropCircle, is attached to field equipment or carried as a hand-held unit and provides information about the relative vigor of a plant. Unlike aerial imagery, it provides instantaneous data, while using the same type of data output — NDVI, or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index — as aerial images.

Why now? Barnes says that “the technology now is getting pretty mature in that we have a good interface between some of the sensors and the controllers. So from a practical standpoint you can just go and collect data.” But what exactly to do with the data is the big question.

The low-hanging fruit for on-the-go sensors applications of PGRs and defoliants, Barnes explains. “We had some preliminary on-farm trials that showed good promise to use the sensor data for real-time variable-rate PGR and applications.”

Like aerial imagery, the sensors measure vegetation. The PGR algorithm is pretty easy to understand — spray that which is excessively green, turn off the spray when it’s not. “And at the end of the season, you are trying to manage green areas where the plant needs more defoliant, so again it’s not a complicated formula, it’s really a one to one relationship between sensor output and product output,” says Barnes.

He says that on-the-go sensors could be applied in the field immediately if a grower wanted to do it, but Cotton Incorporated is aiming to improve the economic benefit of adopting the technology by getting after a bigger issue: variable-rate nitrogen.

The big stumbling block is that the consequences for getting nitrogen wrong in cotton are dire — too much creates a big plant that calls out to insect pests and too little is a yield robber. To get at the issue, studies are taking place in several states.

Beyond economics, Barnes says the cotton industry’s increasing focus on sustainability is another reason to look at managing nitrogen more effectively. “When we look at the energy footprint to produce cotton, if we are in a production system that uses nitrogen from a synthetic source, then that is the biggest energy use,” he says. “We need to be ready with the tools to manage the input as effectively as possible.”

Guidance Galore

From low end to high end, cotton growers have a wide range of products, accuracies, capabilities, and price points for guidance technology. “Once considered a luxury or just an extra, GPS guidance tools are playing roles with ROI for the grower,” says Jeff Farrar, ground ag marketing manager for Hemisphere GPS. “Input costs are skyrocketing, which puts a great deal of focus on such practices as strip-till (nutrient placement) along with the practice of “hippin,” or building beds for cotton planting for irrigation purposes.”

In-cab technology is getting more and more sophisticated to make the most of the power of GPS. For example, Topcon’s X20 in-cab unit now delivers a wide range of features, including most recently added features such as a mobile weather station capability for weather tracking and logging, the AgCam X20 peripheral camera for monitoring hidden or obscure areas of equipment, and boom leveling control.

Manufacturers are filling out lines to accommodate a grower at any level of accuracy. Recent additions include Raven’s Cruizer, Ag Leader’s GPS 1500, and Topcon’s PCS-100, designed to provide serviceable guidance at an entry level price.

Leave a Reply

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2018 4R Summit
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&D’
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Parkland College Student Training
AmericasBushel Garners $7 Million Private Investment Round
May 10, 2018
Bushel today announced a $7 million private investment round to accelerate its patent-pending digital platform for the grain industry. The Read More
Agronomist with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareAg Tech Mobile Tools: Talkin’ Climate’s New Seed Scripting Platform
May 7, 2018
It’s reportedly been a busy spring down at The Climate Corporation offices in Creve Coeur, MO, a tony bedroom community Read More
Trending Articles
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportunities
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
Ernie-Chappell-Screenshot
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
UCANR_booth_Food_IT_forum
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
Latest News
dropcopter
DronesNew York Apple Orchard Claims World First in Pollinatio…
June 18, 2018
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette, NY, is the first orchard in the world to use drones to pollinate Read More
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareAgrian Enhances Field Scouting App
June 18, 2018
Agrian has added a new feature to its robust field scouting app – a pest trap counting solution. The new Read More
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2…
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
Iron Man
UncategorizedAgFunder News: Forget Self-Driving Tractors; Agricultur…
June 18, 2018
Marvel’s Iron Man suit might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for growers, writes Joseph Byrum on AgFunderNews.com. Once the Read More
Soil-Corn-plants-field
Data ManagementRemote Soil-Sensed Management Zones Help Increase Crop …
June 18, 2018
Accurate prescription maps are essential for effective variable rate technology (VRT) fertilizer application. Grid soil sampling is frequently used to Read More
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportu…
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in P…
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australian-Farmers
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
Drone-exhbitor-at-Drone-Show
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Specialty CropsGrowingProduce.com: Fruit Growers, It’s Time to Mechani…
May 30, 2018
If you’re into conspiracies, you might be interested to know that I have stumbled onto a doozy. And it looks Read More
Service ProvidersDeere Launches Bale Mobile App with Hay and Forage Yiel…
May 30, 2018
John Deere introduces its Bale Mobile app to help hay and forage producers get detailed information, improve efficiency, identify bale Read More