Source: NDSU Agriculture

The summit will focus on using in-field crop sensors for variable-rate fertilization to increase nitrogen use efficiency and on farm field information and data management.

The Red River Valley Research Corridor has scheduled the second annual Precision Agriculture Summit at the Farmers Union Conference Center in Jamestown on Jan. 21-22, 2013.

John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist, is coordinating the summit agenda, and will be moderating sessions on in-field crop sensors and crop field data management.

“The summit is intended to be an opportunity for sharing precision agriculture research, technology and needs among farmers, industry, consultants and university personnel,” Nowatzki says.

The agenda focuses on using in-field crop sensors for variable-rate fertilization to increase nitrogen use efficiency and on farm field information and data management. The agenda also includes a presentation on livestock precision agricultural applications. The agenda and other information for the summit are at

Sarah Bedgar Wilson, Jamestown area farmer, will share her stories of adventures in agriculture in a fashion intended to entertain and educate people with positive information about agriculture.

She is a fifth-generation farmer with roots on a diversified dairy, livestock and crop farm in Maryland. In 2002, she ventured west to attend graduate school in animal science at NDSU. She has been active in North Dakota Farm Bureau, co-founded the NDSU Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter and has served as a NDFB Field Staff and Young Farmers and Ranchers Program coordinator. Wilson and her husband, Jeremy, raise corn, soybeans and cover crops.

Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension Service soil specialist, will present information summarizing his research using in-field optical sensors as a tool to increase nitrogen use efficiency on corn. Franzen will describe how information from the sensors can be related to potential corn yield. He also will discuss his research of incorporating corn height to improve the relationship between optical sensor readings and yield estimates.

Newell Kitchen, soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service at the University of Missouri in Columbia, will discuss the impacts of soil texture and weather on in-season corn nitrogen fertilization. Kitchen is involved cropping systems research that improves surface and ground water quality, and the development of precision agriculture strategies for increased nutrient-use efficiency.

Raj Khosla, Colorado State University precision agriculture professor, will discuss managing the spatial variability of soils. Khosla’s work includes evaluating different techniques of precision nitrogen and water management across productivity level management zones. His research work is focused on enhancing crop input use efficiency, productivity, profitability and sustainability of large- and small-scale agricultural production systems.

Richard Ferguson, University of Nebraska Extension soil fertility specialist, will present research information on the interactions among nitrogen rate strategy, corn hybrid and population on the northern Plains. Ferguson’s research includes the use of crop canopy sensors for in-season nitrogen management and site-specific crop management. Ferguson also teaches university classes on site-specific crop management and spatial variability in soils.

David Clay, South Dakota State University soil biochemistry professor , will discuss the use of nitrogen-rich strips to increase the accuracy of in-field optical sensors. Clay has researched the impact of climate, soils, and management on agricultural systems. He has developed techniques to calculate yield losses due to water and nitrogen stress in corn plants.

Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension beef cattle specialist, will discuss precision technology applications for livestock management and will include information on the NDSU beef cattle research complex. The complex has systems capable of monitoring individual feed intake and quantifying feeding behavior. It uses devices to monitor cattle digestive processes and has applications for electronic animal identification.

Brian Arnall, Oklahoma State University Extension precision nutrient management specialist, will present his work on GreenSeeker sensors for increased grain yields and nitrogen use efficiency in wheat. Arnall conducts research and presents Extension programs on soil fertility and plant nutrition and sensor-based technologies for increased grain yields and nitrogen use efficiency in all crops.

Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension soil health specialist and assistant professor in the Soil Science Department, will discuss salinity mapping as it applies to precision agriculture. Her expertise includes soil organic matter and nutrient cycling, soil structural development and microbial ecology, especially related to areas impacted by salinity or sodicity.

A North Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil scientist will discuss the precision agriculture applications of the Web soil survey. Also, an NRCS program specialist will share information about precision agriculture incentive programs.

Several industry representatives will participate in a panel discussion about commercial optical sensors for agricultural crop management. Joe Tevis, Topcon Positioning Systems, will discuss the CropSpec sensor system. Paul Backstrom, farmer and dealer from Maddock, will discuss his work with Ag Leader OptRx crop sensors. Doug Kieffer, Spectrum Technologies product manager, will discuss a smartphone application. FieldScout GreenIndex+. Spectrum Technologies developed the app to identify nitrogen needs in corn crops.

A panel of company representatives will discuss the industry perspective of variable-rate fertilizer applications, including their recommendations on preparing field management zones.

Another industry panel will discuss and demonstrate farm geographic information systems (GIS) computer programs. The panel presenters include Ted Macy, MapShots Inc., Cumming, Ga; Paul Overby, Verdi-Plus Farm Works Mapping, Wolford; and Jordan Schuetzle, Libera Systems, Grand Forks.

The conference is sponsored by the Red River Valley Research Corridor, NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota Farmers Union and Lake Region State College's Dakota Precision Ag Center.

For more information or to register, visit the Red River Valley Research Corridor website or contact Ryan Aasheim at (701) 499-6994 or