A major concern of producers has always been how to reduce the amount of inputs required for crop production while maintaining or improving yields. One area of research addressing this issue is site-specific weed management (SSWM). The objective of this research was to evaluate the possibility of using SSWM herbicide applications to reduce overall production costs when site-specific weed populations are known. Weed populations of three soybean fields (B-East, B-South, B-North), located at the Black Belt Branch Experiment Station, Brooksville, MS, were estimated in 1998 and 1999. Sampling occurred July 8–9, 1998 (8 weeks after planting), and June 30–July 1, 1999 (6 WAP). An established 10 m × 10 m Universal Transmercator (UTM) grid coordinate system was used to divide the fields into 100 m2 cells, with the sample point located in the center of each cell. Optimal herbicide recommendations were obtained for each sample location within each field by subjecting the weed information to the Herbicide Application Decision Support System (HADSS). An average of the weed populations for the entire field was also subjected to HADSS to obtain an optimal recommendation for a broadcast application for comparison purposes. Data from 1998 resulted in 25% and 15% of the field not requiring a herbicide treatment for the B-North and B-South when compared to the whole-field recommendations to receive broadcast treatments. However, B-East received a “no treatment” recommendation for the whole-field analysis. The “no treatment” recommendation was attributed to the sicklepod population exceeding a level deemed economically controllable by HADSS. However, when SSWM recommendations were generated, 49% of the field received “no treatment” recommendation, while 51% resulted in a herbicide application as an economical choice. In 1999, glyphosate-resistant transgenic soybean was used, thereby increasing the POST herbicide treatment options available in HADSS. Herbicide treatment recommendations resulted in 100%, 56%, and 91% of the total area requiring herbicide treatments for B-East, B-North, and B-South, respectively. Comparing the projected net returns for each field can develop a better estimate of the value of SSWM. In 1998, data from the B-East resulted in a projected net return increase of $21.63 ha−1 over that of the broadcast application. Estimated net return increased $5.42 ha−1 at B-North, with simulated SSWM applications over broadcast applications, and $14.67 ha−1 increase at B-South. Net returns for 1999 resulted in only a $0.32 ha−1 increase by using SSWM for B-East, but a $21.00 and $13.56 ha−1 increase for B-North and B-South, respectively. The extra expenses of SSWM, such as sampling and technology costs, are not included in the net returns calculations and, when included, would reduce the difference between SSWM and conventional methods. This research has demonstrated the potential value of SSWM from an economic standpoint; environmental benefits through reductions in herbicide applications are also apparent.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 27, 2004
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