An economic evaluation of site-specific input application Rx maps: evaluation framework and case study

Grant Gardner, Taro Mieno, David S. Bullock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Commercial consultants frequently sell site-specific crop input management recommendation maps (Rxs) to their farmer-clients. This study proposes a method to empirically evaluate the efficacy of commercial Rxs. The method takes three steps: (1) it uses precision agriculture technology to conduct randomized on-farm precision experiments; (2) it estimates yield response functions for the Rx’s management zones using the data; and (3) it conducts economic analysis to test the hypothesis that implementing the Rx is an economically optimal strategy. The method is illustrated using data from a 2018 on-farm nitrogen and seed rate precision experiment on a 31-ha Ohio field, for which nitrogen and seed Rxs were created by the farmer’s professional consultant. The study demonstrates the promise of improving input management through on-farm precision experimentation and data analysis. Future research must conduct trials over multiple years to account for weather. A call is made for the development of public and private research infrastructure to lower the costs on-farm precision experimentation and data analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1304-1316
Number of pages13
JournalPrecision Agriculture
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Economically optimal input rates
  • Nitrogen rate
  • On-farm precision experimentation
  • Seed rate
  • Shape-constrained generalized additive modeling
  • Site-specific input management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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