Cooperative Brings New Technology Down On The Farm

Posted: February 24, 2014

Farmers interested in new technologies associated with crop fertility management, including drones, may want to attend an upcoming meeting in New Market hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The event will take place at the New Market Fire Hall on Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 459-6140.

The meeting will feature subjects not routinely covered in the Valley, such as “precision soil sampling for crop nutrient and lime application” and “how to use nitrogen stabilizers to improve

nitrogen use efficiency,” said Robert Clark, senior extension agent in Shenandoah County.

Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor, live demonstration involving a small drone that can be used to help improve crop management.

“We fly a lawnmower-type pattern across a field and it takes images every couple of seconds and we can stitch the images together to make one master image of the whole field,” said Tim Woodward, an owner of Madison County-based Tellus Agronomics.

Tellus Agronomics uses the images to help farmers in the Valley manage variable-rate fertilizing and seeding, as well as scout for crop diseases and pests.

Also, the meeting will feature a presentation showing how an electrical conductivity mapping device can help improve crop management, said Don Cline, a branch manager for Helena Chemical Company who works in Harrisonburg.

“It’s kind of hard to demonstrate this thing in a parking lot because we have to really be on soil. But we can show screenshots of what this does and what it looks like when it’s taking and transferring the data over to the computer,” he said.

All soil textures react differently to fertility, he explained. The device maps soil for those differences. Then, samples can be taken from specific zones in the field, and recommendations can be made on fertilization.

Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or jshacat@dnronline.com



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