Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit
Project Number: 6402-13000-004-00
Start Date: Feb 07, 2012
End Date: Feb 06, 2017
To complete Objective 1, wireless sensor networks will be deployed and evaluated to measure soil water status for irrigation scheduling. Soil water sensors will be calibrated for predominant soils in Mississippi Delta region. A 3D plant morphometer will be developed to allow real-time, in-situ, non-destructive measurement of the morphological characteristics of bush-type plants. Field evaluation of the morphometer will be conducted and data collected will be analyzed to identify relationships between plant morphological characteristics and evaporative demand and soil moisture availability. Crop water use will be measured using electronic load cell-based weighing lysimeters. The measurements will be used to develop crop coefficient functions for corn and soybean. Low-cost wireless monitoring and control systems will be developed for measuring soil moisture and agronomic parameters. A University of Georgia (UGA) Evaporation-based Accumulator for Sprinkler-enhanced Yield (EASY) Pan will be set up in fields along with soil water sensors. The sensors and pan water levels will be read daily and composite soil water potentials will be calculated for each station. Experiments will be conducted to evaluate water productivity of the switchgrass as an energy crop. To complete Objective 2, a standard tractor 3-point quick-hitch will be modified to allow real-time control of the vertical movement of the hitch. Performance of the modified real time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) - controlled hitch in improving surface-irrigation application will be field tested. An improved plant health sensing system equipped with multispectral and ultrasonic sensors will be designed and fabricated for diagnosing plant health conditions. Experiments will be conducted in a cotton field with water and nitrogen (N) treatments. Relationships among canopy spectral reflectance, plant height, soil moisture, leaf N, yield, and fiber quality will be examined for site-specific water and nutrient management. To complete Objective 3, improved irrigation scheduling and application technologies and water management tools will be developed and delivered to producers to improve water use and crop yield and quality. The research will develop production systems and identify management practices that improve soil quality and increase profitability by incorporating conservation production practices, alternative crops and crop rotations. Profitability of management practices and production systems will be tested with economic analysis. Fundamental principles of successful production systems will be delineated, and examined for impacts on risks, competitiveness and environmental impacts.