These research activities are being conducted by Aristotelis Tagarakis, an Agricultural Engineering Ph.D. student at Panepistimio Thessalias. He will be at Auburn University from February, 2013 to December, 2013.
During my visit to Auburn University as a research scholar under the TAPAC program, several research activities and projects are planned. These projects will be focused on the areas of irrigation and nitrogen fertilization, emphasizing the use of new technologies to enhance crop production and improve input stewardship. More specifically, the main focus will concern the evaluation of precision agriculture technologies to increase water and nitrogen use efficiency.
The irrigation project will focus on the evaluation of different irrigation scheduling methods:
- Using Checkbook (water balance) method in accordance to the UGA 2012 Corn Production Guide recommendations;
- Using Irrigator Pro, a software developed for corn which utilizes Watermark soil moisture sensors;
- Using KanSched software;
- Using Decagon soil moisture sensors;
In addition, analysis of irrigation data from the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons corresponding to two different irrigation scheduling methods (Checkbook system and Decagon soil moisture sensors) will be conducted with interest to publish results. I plan to also visit farms utilizing technology to best manage irrigation including pivots and subsurface drip irrigation.
The nitrogen fertilization project will aim in studying the efficiency of Variable-Rate Nitrogen application. Crop sensors such as GreenSeeker and CropSpec will be used to estimate crop performance and nitrogen needs in addition to performing variable-rate nitrogen application. Different nitrogen fertilization timing treatments and variable rate versus uniform nitrogen fertilization application methods will be examined and compared. Similarly, I will observe variable-rate application of other inputs in other field-scale studies.I will also be participating in different workshops, professional society meetings and field days organized for farmers, ag businesses and extension agents.