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Adding value to spatially managed inputs by understanding site-specific yield response

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  • Bullock, David S.
  • Lowenberg-DeBoer, Jess
  • Swinton, Scott M.

Abstract

Many mechanized crop producers and agribusinesses are fascinated with precision agriculture technology, but adoption has lagged behind the expectations. Among the reasons for slow adoption of precision agriculture technology is that initial users focused excessively on in-field benefits from variable-rate fertilizer application using regional average fertilizer recommendations. This article illustrates how greater use of site-specific crop response information can improve variable rate input application recommendations. Precision agriculture is spatial information technology applied to agriculture. The technologies include global position systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), yield monitoring sensors, and computer controlled within-field variable rate application (VRA) equipment. Experimentation with these technologies is occurring everywhere there is large scale mechanized agriculture. Commercial use has been greatest in the US, where 43% of farm retailers offered VRA services in 2001. Except for certain high-value crops like sugar beet, farmer adoption ofVRA has been modest. The farm level profitability of VRA continues to be questionable for bulk commodity crops. The theoretical model and illustration presented here suggest that VRA fertilization has not yet reached its profitability potential. Most VRA field trials to date have relied upon existing state-wide or regional input rate recommendations. Unobserved soil characteristics can potentially interact with an input to make its effect on yield vary site-specifically within fields. Failure to use site-specific response functions for VRA applications may lead to a misallocation of inputs just as great as that which results from using uniform applications instead of VRA. Agricultural economists have a long history of estimating output response to input applications. Several have started to develop tools to estimate site-specific responses from yield monitor and other precision agriculture data. Li
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  • Bullock, David S. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, Jess & Swinton, Scott M., 2002. "Adding value to spatially managed inputs by understanding site-specific yield response," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 233-245, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:27:y:2002:i:3:p:233-245
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    1. English, Burton C. & Mahajanashetti, S.B. & Roberts, Roland K., 1999. "Economic And Environmental Benefits Of Variable Rate Application Of Nitrogen To Corn Fields: Role Of Variability And Weather," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21533, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Babcock, Bruce A. & Pautsch, Gregory R., 1998. "Moving From Uniform To Variable Fertilizer Rates On Iowa Corn: Effects On Rates And Returns," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 23(02), December.
    3. Hurley, Terrance M. & Kilian, Bernard & Malzer, Gary L. & Dikici, Huseyin, 2001. "The Value Of Information For Variable Rate Nitrogen Applications: A Comparison Of Soil Test, Topographical, And Remote Sensing Information," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20726, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. Gary Kachanoski, 1999. "Economic Feasibility of Variable-Rate Technology for Nitrogen on Corn," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 914-927.
    5. Swinton, Scott M. & Liu, Yanyan & Miller, Neil R., 2002. "Is Yield Response Site-Specific? Revisiting Nitrogen Recommendations On Corn," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19709, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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    Cited by:

    1. Mkondiwa, Maxwell Gibson, 2015. "Whither Broad or Spatially Specific Fertilizer Recommendations?," Master's Theses 237344, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    2. Hurley, Terrance M. & Malzer, Gary L. & Kilian, Bernard, 2003. "Estimating Site-Specific Nitrogen Crop Response Functions: A Conceptual Framework And Geostatistical Model," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 21950, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. David S. Bullock & James Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2007. "Using Spatial Analysis to Study the Values of Variable Rate Technology and Information," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 517-535, September.
    4. Lambert, Dayton M. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, James & Malzer, Gary L., 2004. "A Systems Approach For Evaluating On-Farm Site-Specific Management Trials: A Case Study With Variable Rate Manure And Crop Quality Response To Inputs," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20091, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Lichtenberg, Erik & Majsztrik, John & Saavoss, Monica, 2014. "Willingness to Pay for Sensor-Controlled Irrigation," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 168211, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Velandia Margarita & Roderick M. Rejesus & Eduardo Segarra & Kevin Bronson, 2004. "Un análisis económico de la aproximación estadística para el establecimiento de zonas de manejo en agricultura de precisión: caso de algodón en Texas," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
    7. Roman Keeney & Thomas W. Hertel, 2008. "U.S. Market Potential For Dried Distillers Grain With Solubles," Working Papers 08-13, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    8. Uri Shani & Yacov Tsur & Amos Zemel & David Zilberman, 2009. "Irrigation production functions with water-capital substitution," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(1), pages 55-66, January.
    9. Sharp, Benjamin E. & Miller, Shelie A., 2014. "Estimating maximum land use change potential from a regional biofuel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 261-269.
    10. Lambert, Dayton M. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, James & Malzer, Gary L., 2005. "Managing Phosphorous Soil Dynamics Over Space And Time," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19452, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. Li, Xiaofei & Coble, Keith H. & Tack, Jesse B. & Barnett, Barry J., 2016. "Estimating Site-Specific Crop Yield Response using Varying Coefficient Models," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235798, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Nelson, Gerald C., 2002. "Introduction to the special issue on spatial analysis for agricultural economists," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 27(3), November.
    13. Velandia, Margarita M. & Rejesus, Roderick M. & Segarra, Eduardo & Bronson, Kevin, 2006. "Economics of Management Zone Delineation in Cotton Precision Agriculture," 2006 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2006, Orlando, Florida 35387, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    14. Bullock, David S., 2013. "Simulating the Value of Information Generated by On-farm Agronomic Experimentation Using Precision Agriculture Technology," Proceedings Issues, 2013: Productivity and Its Impacts on Global Trade, June 2-4, 2013. Seville, Spain 152370, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    15. Velandia, Margarita M. & Lambert, Dayton M. & Jenkins, Amanda & Roberts, Roland K. & Larson, James A. & English, Burton C. & Martin, Steven W., 2009. "Factors Influencing Selection of Information Sources by Cotton Producers Considering Adoption of Precision Agriculture Technologies," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49326, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    16. Walton, Jonathan C. & Lambert, Dayton M. & Roberts, Roland K. & Larson, James A. & English, Burton C. & Larkin, Sherry L. & Martin, Steven W. & Marra, Michele C. & Paxton, Kenneth W. & Reeves, Jeanne , 2008. "Adoption and Abandonment of Precision Soil Sampling in Cotton Production," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 33(3), December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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