Poster Number 522
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
Traditional N fertilizer management schemes for
U.S. corn production systems have resulted in low N use efficiency, reduced water quality, and considerable public debate regarding N use in crop production. We have built a prototype high clearance N applicator configured with active sensors, controller, and nozzle/valve system designed to deliver spatially variable rates of N fertilizer in lieu of uniform at-planting applications to address these issues. This paper reports on the development of a sensor algorithm to be used for translating active sensor readings into N application rates, and efforts to validate the algorithm in small plot field studies. The active sensor used in our work is the Crop Circle ACS-210 manufactured by Holland Scientific of Lincoln, NE. The algorithm was developed by combining results from a long term field study showing chlorophyll meter readings can be used to assess corn N status and determine rate of N application along with results showing active sensor readings are highly correlated with chlorophyll meter assessments of canopy N status. The resulting algorithm is proposed as a means for converting active sensor readings into corrective in-season N application rates that maintain grain yields. The algorithm was validated in a field study involving small plots receiving different amounts and timings of N. Sensor readings were acquired on the dates N applications were made and the algorithm used to convert sensor estimated N deficiency. Grain yields were also determined for these same plots. The relationship of relative grain yields versus sensor estimated N requirements was described by a quadratic plateau regression model with a coefficient of determination of 0.64, indicating the sensor algorithm would provide a reasonably accurate assessment of in-season N requirements for maintaining grain yields.