Summary of precision farming research in the Department of Soil Science
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A three-year field study was initiated in 1996 to measure the inherent fertility variations in typical Saskatchewan landscapes and to determine the different yield responses of wheat and canola to fertilizer rates in these landscapes. Our objective was to assess the agronomic and economic feasibility of variable rate fertilizer (VRF) application for wheat and canola. Results suggest that the response of canola to fertilizer application was strongly tied to spring moisture availability which, in turn, was directly related to landscape position. Because canola yield responses were relatively consistent (and thus predictable) from year to year (although the overall mean varied depending on spring soil moisture), we concluded that canola appears to be an excellent crop choice for VRF. In contrast, wheat did not respond consistently to fertilizer N application from year to year, limiting the potential for VRF in wheat.
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