The Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network will incorporate the GreenSeeker optical sensing and variable-rate application system in nitrogen management studies as part of its 2007 replicated strip trial research program.
NTech Industries, Inc., along with its U.S. distributor, Redball, LLC, is providing the On-Farm Network with a six-sensor GreenSeeker RT200 unit for the 2007 season. GreenSeeker uses optical sensors mounted on a sidedress nitrogen applicator to assess plant biomass and health as the rig moves across the field. Fertilizer rates are adjusted on the go, depending on the sensors' assessment of the crop's yield potential.
The primary goals of the On-Farm Network study are to determine how effectively GreenSeeker technology detects nitrogen stress in corn and the benefit of adding additional nitrogen once deficiencies are detected. Additional data will be collected to evaluate crop vigor mapping, according to Tracy Blackmer, ISA director of research.
Advantages compared to aerial imagery
The On-Farm Network research team also will use the GreenSeeker sensors to map crop health and vigor of soybeans and corn during herbicide and other crop input applications. This could potentially supplement aerial imagery, which has been used extensively by ISA researchers. Because GreenSeeker has its own light source, it allows crop mapping in all weather conditions, day or night, and is not affected by clouds and other weather conditions that affect aerial imagery.
"GreenSeeker has been used in wheat, corn and cotton, but there is less experience with the technology in Iowa corn," says Blackmer. "We want to see whether this approach can help determine the optimum nitrogen rate to produce the maximum economic yield and minimize the impact of nitrogen on the environment."
"We are pleased that the On-Farm Network is interested in testing GreenSeeker as part of its overall nitrogen management test program," says Ted Mayfield, chief operating officer of NTech Industries, which manufactures GreenSeeker. "Results from the On-Farm Network trial will provide useful information on how Iowa corn farmers can best use GreenSeeker to improve nitrogen efficiency in the heart of the Corn Belt. We are also very excited about using GreenSeeker to map soybean vigor and health."
For more information on the ISA On-Farm Network, visit www.isafarmnet.com. More information on GreenSeeker is available at www.greenseeker.com. On-Farm Network is a trademark of Iowa Soybean Association. GreenSeeker is a registered trademark of NTech Industries.