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Examining the development of a potato crop nutrient management trial using reflectance sensing

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  031133,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13742) @2003
Authors:   Jayne Moore, N. M. Holden
Keywords:   potato, spend mushroom compost, urea formaldehyde, CropScan, reflectance sensing

Waste spent mushroom compost (SMC) can be used as a nutrient source when spread on farm land. A lack of available nitrogen in SMC was addressed by mixing with waste urea formaldehyde (UF) from the timber glue industry. A potato trial was planted to examine whether a significant yield effect could be detected using SMC/UF mixtures when compared to commercial fertilizer, just SMC and a control. As part of the trial a CropScan sensor (with wavebands similar to Landsat Thematic Mapper) was used to monitor development of the above ground potato plant canopy for each treatment and was ground truthed using visible light digital images take periodically during the trial. At the end of the trial graded tuber yield was determined. During the trial it became apparent that black-leg was present in the seed crop potatoes and that there was a progressive decline in plant health that tended to coincide with plants entering the maturation phase. This, combined with poor growing conditions due to a poor summer meant that the CropScan sensor was able to detect the onset and development of plant deterioration which could have been due to both disease and the regression of the plant canopy after tuber bulking. Results from the trial revealed that the SMC/UF nutrient treatment permitted the most healthy plant canopy to develop, survive the onset of disease and to produce a significantly larger yield of generally larger tubers.

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