Developing Productivity Zones from Multiple Years of Yield Monitor Data

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Book Chapter

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Producers who have been collecting yield monitor data for multiple years have begun to ask “How can we use our yield data to improve management?” These data sets may be combined to define a type of management zone known as a productivity zone. There are at least two different approaches proposed for identifying productivity zones. The first approach is to calculate the impact of zone boundaries on fertilizer recommendations. Chang et al.1 reported that landscape-specific yield goals, combined with grid-cell sampling, can be used to improve N and P fertilizer recommendations by 35% and 59%, respectively. This approach requires that a model be used to calculate fertilizer recommendations and that extensive soil sampling be conducted to define initial soil conditions. A second approach is to determine the impact of productivity zones on yield variability.2–5 This approach assumes that the best zone delineation method minimizes yield variability. For example, Fridgen et al.4 reported that management zones based on elevation reduced yield variability by 80%. The objectives of this chapter are to present a case study demonstrating an approach for determining productivity zones in a 160-acre field located in eastern South Dakota, to provide a georeferenced, cleaned, and gridded yield monitor data set for multiple crop years (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002), and to provide an exercise in mapping productivity zones using ArcView® software (ESRI, Redlands, California).

Publication Title

GIS Applications in Agriculture

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