Using aerial imagery to determine the need for within-field management
Wells, Jennifer Sanders
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Although many agricultural fields vary spatially in soil properties and crop growth patterns, some agricultural fields are not good targets for precision agriculture because they are fairly uniform. The purpose of this project was to determine whether aerial imagery can be used to define areas within peanut fields requiring variable management. We found that the best time to acquire images to detect variability within dryland peanut fields is approximately 7.5 to 11.5 weeks after planting. Fields showing a great deal of variability in the images also varied in soil conditions or crop growth within the field. A variability index which incorporated all of the measured soil parameters accounted for 42% of the variability in reflectance values. Of the measured soil properties, the most important predictors of differences in reflectance and yield for the fields in this study were soil texture, organic matter, CEC, Ca, and Mn.