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New Soil Model Creates Step-change in Predictive Farm Management

Monday, March 31, 2014

Pioneer

DuPont, the University of Missouri and the US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) announced an innovative new collaboration to pool soil mapping resources, predictive technologies and expertise to help growers more sustainably improve crop yields through better nitrogen application management and other field input planning.

The public-private effort aims to enhance sustainable crop production through field and crop modeling that targets the specific soil, climatic, water-shed and production conditions within producers’ fields with real-time information.

The three-year exclusive agreement among DuPont Pioneer – the global seed and advanced plant genetics business of DuPont – the University of Missouri and USDA-ARS will bring together the respective strengths of each party in precision agriculture sensors and soil mapping, including the characterization of soil types, topography and water-sheds.

Through a unique computerized process offered by DuPont that uses the latest high resolution technology, the collaboration will result in more accurate soil mapping units than ever seen before. Higher-resolution soil information will enable improved placement and management of crop inputs such as nitrogen fertilizer.

The enhanced soil maps build on public soil survey data and will support Decision Agriculture Services provided by DuPont to help crop producers make timely decisions to more sustainably improve yields and per-acre income. Soil analysis procedures will better identify unique land areas called Environmental Response Units (ERUs). These ERUs can then be used to develop a variety of management zones. A trusted Pioneer advisor will assist growers in tailoring input and management plans to fit their goals of the best possible per-acre yield.

This University of Missouri and USDA-ARS collaboration will provide vastly improved soil mapping resolution.

“This public-private collaboration with Missouri and USDA-ARS takes that effort to a higher level, helping growers increase yields while being better stewards of the environment. We are building these tools in the United States, but intend to expand Decision Services offerings into other international markets over time,” said Paul E. Schickler, president, DuPont Pioneer.

“Management decisions strongly depend on how crops respond to the soil and landscape,” said Brent Myers, Ph.D., agronomist, University of Missouri. “Public soil maps are very valuable, but we can now track differences in fields at a much higher resolution than previously available. ERUs identify smaller areas within fields that can be similarly managed. This collaboration provides opportunities for connecting innovative soil and landscape science with decision-making for millions of acres in the United States.”

While nitrogen is one of the most important crop inputs, it is also among the most complex and uncertain aspects of modern agricultural production. In addition to being susceptible to environmental losses, its effectiveness is impacted by soil type and day-by-day weather conditions.

By using high resolution elevation data and landscape watershed information, producers can better determine water and nitrogen movement on the section and county levels. Together with soil and productivity information, growers can more accurately plan, place and manage nitrogen applications on a real-time basis.

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