How modern row-crop agriculture is quickly evolving from a
precision-based to a decision-based farming model and how producers can extract
the most advantage from these changes will be the topics of a series of
workshops scheduled for February in three locations throughout Alabama and
The workshops will be held Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the NESPAL
Seminar Room at the University of Georgia's Tifton campus in Tifton, Ga.;
Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center Auditorium in
Headland, Ala.; and Friday, Feb. 28 at the E.V. Smith Research Center
Conference Facility in Shorter, Ala.
"These workshops will not only provide producers with an
opportunity to get a hands-on feel for cutting edge precision farming
techniques but also to interact with some of the leading precision agricultural
scholars in the United States and Europe," says Dr. Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama
Cooperative Extension System specialist and assistant professor in the
Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University.
"This is a very unique offering to growers that will feature
precision farming experts not only from Auburn University and the University of
Georgia but also from three leading European universities."
"These workshop speakers will provide examples of how
site-specific management of agricultural inputs, aided by the use of
precision-agriculture technologies, can result in increases in input use and
efficiency and reduction of year-to-year variability," Ortiz says.
"Precision farming generates an incredible amount of data and
challenges producers to interpret and act on this data. One of the goals of these workshops is to ensure that our farmers can derive the most advantage from this trove of data
that precision farming technology increasingly is providing."
Following the welcome and introductions, Dr. George
Vellidis, a professor in the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural
and Environmental Sciences, will discuss what he perceives as the next big
challenge in precision agriculture: precision irrigation.
Following Velldis' remarks, Dr. Franceso Morari, an
associate professor in the Department of Agronomy, Foods, Natural Resources and
the Environment at the University of Padova in Italy, will discuss how crop
sensors and weather forecasting can be combined to improve the variable-rate
applications of nitrogen in durum wheat.
Ortiz will follow Morari's remarks with a presentation on
optimizing variable-rate nitrogen management in corn and cotton.
Later in the morning, Dr. Theofanis Gemtos, professor and head
of Laboratory of Farm Mechanization at the University of Thessaly in Greece,
will discuss the art and science of soil sampling for precision agriculture.
Rounding out the morning, Dr. Markus Gandorfer, an
agricultural economist with the Technical University of Munich, will discuss
the economics of precision agricultural technology at the farm level.
Following lunch, participants can participate in a series of
hands-on precision farming-related exercises and demonstrations, which will
include precision planting in row crops; converting yield maps to profit maps; using
crop sensors for input management in row crops; and creating management zones.
The series of workshops is a testament to the increasingly
global nature of farming, and particularly precision farming, according to
"The TransAtlantic Precision Agricultural Consortium, which
is holding these workshops, is the outgrowth of a series of student exchanges among
three American and three European universities that focused on precision
farming and that was led by the University of Georgia's Dr. Vellidis," she
In 2010, this effort was expanded with a grant from the
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which enabled students seeking
careers in precision farming to complete their master's degrees.
Europe is one continent where precision farming adoption is
being stepped up at a rapid pace — a change Ortiz attributes to mounting
The workshops are free, but registration is required. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available.
Register online at http://vellidis.org/tapac-registration/.
To register via e-mail for the Georgia workshop, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To register via e-mail for one of the Alabama
workshops, contact email@example.com.
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