The availability of GPS and different type of sensors on modern agricultural machinery enables collection of tons of geo-referenced spatial data related to different field and machine operations. Data management relates to storing, oganizing and managing different spatial (and non-spatial) records related to fields, crops and operations so it can be monitored, accessed and analyzed to track production activities across the farm. Data analytics involves analyzing these spatial datasets to evalaute performance and productivity of machines/operations, create prescription maps for site-specific application of crop inputs, perform yield analysis to understand crop productivity, create expense and budget reports, and many more other functions. Many desktop, mobile and online farm management information system (FMIS) options are available today for data management and anaysis.
In our program, we utilize different types of FMIS’s regularly for handling and analysis of spatial data layers including soil sampling plans, variable-rate fertilizer and seeding precriptions, as-applied maps, aerial imagery and yield mapping. Data management and analysis is an integral part of planning and analyzing spatial data sets from both small-plot and on-farm research trials.
Some of the ongoing work in this area includes:
- Comparing different data interpolation techniques for mapping spatial soil and crop attributtes to improve depiction and application accuracy
- Exploring the utility of latest mobile and online FMIS options for tracking crop performance and site-specific crop management during the season
- Tracking and improving data transfer and exchange (portability and interoperability) among different ag technologies/systems and within FMIS’s.