With the 2017 growing season wrapping up, we wanted to share what we have learned so far in our drone based nitrogen management project.
We will be presenting a summary poster at the Agronomy Society Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL later this month. Click here to view a PDF of the poster and see what we have learned so far!
Read on for a quick synopsis!
- We established 3 pre-plant nitrogen rates in Feb. 2017 – 75 lb/ac, 100 lb/ac, and 160 lb/ac. The 160 lb/ac rate represented the traditional farmer management. Drone imagery was collected to determine how much nitrogen to apply to the 75 lb/ac and 100 lb/ac pre-plant strips. The farmer managed strips (160 lb/ac pre-plant), were given 40 lb/ac in-season.
- Using infrared drone imagery, we were able to detect nitrogen need sooner than would be possible using regular, true-color imagery alone.
- The imagery collected before and after the in-season nitrogen application revealed that differences which existed prior to application were no longer present after nitrogen application. This suggests that following the in-season nitrogen application, the crop was able to recover from any nitrogen deficiency.
- Both the 75 and 100 lb/ac pre-plant rates resulted in less total nitrogen application than the farmer rate.
- Costs for nitrogen fertilizer and application were comparable between the 3 treatments.
- There was no yield difference between the farmer managed strips and drone managed strips.
- The drone managed strips had a higher nitrogen use efficiency than the farmer managed strips.
Click here to read the full poster for all the details!
Poster download: Drone_Nitrogen_Mgmt_Summary_2017