Irrigation Scheduling Technology

Dr. Daniel K. Fisher
Research Agricultural Engineer, USDA-ARS
Irrigation scheduling and water conservation are topics of increasing interest and concern. Changes in ground- and surface-water supplies and uncertainties in rainfall and future water availability affect irrigated agriculture. A variety of technologies are available to improve water management for the benefit of agricultural productivity and sustainable operations. Electronic monitoring systems sense field conditions in real time, and data can be accessed and viewed conveniently via the internet. Computer, smartphone, and internet-based scheduling models use weather data and crop information to track available soil-water resources. Knowing when to irrigate allows producers to fit irrigations in with other production practices, use water more efficiently, and maintain crop growth and yields.


Soil Moisture Sensors: A True Gauge Of Plant Moisture Needs

Lauren Green
Mississippi Consultant: Cotton, Corn, Soybeans, Grain Sorghum Mississippi Farmer: Corn, Soybeans, Grain Sorghum
Advances in technology allow farmers to have a true gauge of plant moisture needs. By installing moisture sensors, Green is able to monitor soil moisture to optimize yields while conserving water and reducing overall expense.
Green received a Bachelor of Science degree in ag pest management in 2002 from Mississippi State, and has been consulting since then. The fourth generation farmer began farming in 2008, using some property that has been in the family and some that is rented. He raises 300 to 400 acres each of corn, soybeans and grain sorghum.


Data Acquired Via Aerial Platforms: Practicality For On-Farm Decisions

Dr. Trey Koger
Mississippi Farmer: Soybeans
The potential usage for data acquired via aerial platforms, regardless of platform type, will eventually be determined as more companies providing the data service come into the market place. I think everyone would agree that gathering data and developing pretty maps is the easy part. The challenge is attaining data via aerial platforms in a timely manner that can be used to make extremely quick, virtually instantaneous in some cases, crop management decisions. Another challenge is the fundamental question is what can be done with the data once collected. I feel this is likely a taller hurdle to overcome than the first challenge. The potential usage for data acquired via aerial platforms is sometimes known but extracting the data that can be interpreted and used to answer a crop related question or use the data to develop a subsequent prescription that can be used to apply a crop input product can be very challenging. Software associated with importing, interpreting, and developing potential output prescriptions from aerial acquired data is readily available. Often times more than one software package is required in order to obtain the full use of aerial platform acquired data. The pieces of the puzzle required for obtaining aerial platform information and/or data, interpreting the data so that crop input decisions can be made, and utilizing the data for development of a prescription needed to apply a variable rate crop production input are all available. Putting the puzzle together in a cohesive and most importantly timely manner so that rapid decisions can be made can be challenging. The potential use for geo-referenced data acquired via an aerial platform for decision making processes within our operation will be discussed as well as other software technologies that help to make our decision making processes more efficient will be discussed in more detail.


The Use of Aerial Imagery To Identify Crop Stress And Provide Solutions To Help Maximize Production In Cotton And Rice

Dr. Kevin Price
EVP Research & Applied Technology, Robo Flight Systems, LLC
Don Cummins
Owner, Air Data Solutions
Traditional field scouting typically covers less than 2% of the total crop. As a result, much of the field is never scouted for insects, diseases or nutrient conditions.
Aerial imagery has long been used as an efficient ground surveying tool. Natural color and color infrared images have been used since world war ii. Advances in aircraft and cameras are making the use of imagery practical and cost effective for many agricultural applications.
During this presentation, the pros and cons of drones, small aircraft and satellite imagery for crop monitoring and management will be discussed. Cotton and rice case studies will be presented.


Unmanned Aerial Systems: The Struggle is Real

Louis Wasson
Senior Extension Associate, Precision Agriculture Mississippi State University Extension
Unmanned Aerial Systems (a.k.a drones or unmanned aerial vehicles) have become a regular topic in agriculture. Many producers own one because they were told it could be a benefit to their operation. They flew it a few times then put it back on the shelf because they weren't really sure how to get the value they were promised by the retailer out of the data. Others crashed their drone and, having failed to see the benefits preached at the trade show, never bothered fixing or replacing the aircraft. If unmanned aerial vehicles are so valuable why isn't everyone using one in their operation? The key is understanding that this is system of components not just the aircraft by itself. All the components have to fit together like a puzzle in the correct way to produce information out of the imagery data. Until producers are shown how to use the data obtained with unmanned aerial vehicles, their puzzle will be incomplete.