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Evaluation of PRS® probe technology and model for variable rate fertilizer application in hummocky fields in Saskatchewan

Greer, J., E. Bremer and J. Burns. 2012. IPCA

Abstract

Increasing net returns from variable-rate fertilizer application requires efficient use of reliable knowledge about fertilizer response variation within a field. Based on PRS® probe technology developed at the University of Saskatchewan, Western Ag Lab provides growers with a simulation modeling tool, the PRS® Nutrient Forecaster, that allow growers to assess the cost-benefit of a particular fertilizer and/or cropping decision on a field-by-field basis. The potential to increase net returns by varying fertilizer application within a field was evaluated in two fields in Saskatchewan in 2004. Fertilizer prescriptions were developed at a grid spacing of 12 m using PRS® measurements and estimated moisture at selected topographic positions within a field. An algorithm was developed to deliver four nutrients with two machine-compatible blends: nutrients were applied within 5% of the optimum rate. Evaluation based on backcast yield estimates indicated that this approach increased net returns by $25 to $125 per hectare.

Key Words

simulation model, optimization, logistic