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UK soil scientists increase wheat yields through better use of nitrogen
Remote-sensing technology uses sensors to measure crop canopy conditions and apply the appropriate amount of nitrogen to a particular area as the tractor passes through the field. This technology helps ensure the areas that need nitrogen get it and cuts down on unnecessary applications in areas of the field with sufficient amounts, rather than producers making a blanket application across the field based on the field’s average nitrogen needs.
Since this is new technology, only two states, Oklahoma and Virginia, had algorithms for the machine. Neither worked for Kentucky. With funding from the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association, Lloyd Murdock, UK extension soils specialist, developed one for the state.
“I’m excited that we’re making this technology work for farmers,” he said. “It has increased nitrogen efficiency and yields during field trials the past two years.”
In field trials, the algorithm has increased yields by an average of 3.9 bushels per acre. The total amount of nitrogen used has remained about the same, but is now varied over a field with some locations receiving more or less than others. With these averages and taking into account current wheat prices, producers can expect to get a return of about $20 per acre.
Murdock is working with Kentucky growers who have remote-sensing technology to help them input the algorithm into their equipment. He’ll also lead a discussion about this during the 2012 UK Wheat Science Group’s Winter Wheat Meeting Jan. 10 at the James R. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville.
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Photo depicts damage to apple trees after the Easter Freeze in 2007.
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The Arboretum gears up to host a Party for the Planet
The Arboretum, on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, is partnering with LG&E and KU Energy LLC to offer a month-long celebration called Party for the Planet 2012, with activities for...