June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Biological & Agricultural
13.1081.1 - 13.1081.14
Site Specific Farming, Environmental Concerns, and Associated Advanced Technologies Provide a Platform for Active Learning and Research at a Land Grant University
Abstract A course titled “Advanced Technologies in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences” was offered for the first time at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in spring of 2007. The course was conceived to develop a broader student base for the “Precision Agriculture” related activities that have been ongoing at UMES for the past few years, with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Maryland Space Grant Consortium (MDSGC), and as such has been opened to all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) seniors and graduate students on campus. In an effort to diffuse the compartmentalization of knowledge and rigid disciplinary boundaries within academia, the course has been designed to be a multi-instructor course. Faculty and staff from Agriculture, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Aviation Sciences, and collaborators from USDA, NASA, and representatives from a local industry involved in “Precision Farming” have worked together to plan and deliver the course. The course content spans over the fundamentals of global positioning systems (GPS), yield monitoring, soil testing, variable rate applicators, fundamentals of plant physiology and agronomy, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), statistics and data analysis, aerial imaging and remote sensing, & nutrient and watershed management. Significant field work using various field sensors, including a chlorophyll meter, pH meter, and other instrumentation to measure leaf area index (LAI) in conjunction with hand held GPS units, is integrated with the course. Funds from USDA will cover at least four summer interns who will be selected from the course participants each year, while the grant is active ( 2009) to continue experiential learning and research activities initiated in spring as an integral part of the course, during the summer months.
1.0 Introduction Precision Agriculture [1,2] is a knowledge-based system that enables farmers to apply precise amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, or other inputs to specific areas where and when they are needed for optimal crop growth. It integrates many advanced engineering technologies, including GPS receivers, GIS data bases, grid sampling/mapping techniques[4,5], yield monitors, variable-rate applications and remote sensing imagery . Potentially, these advanced technologies can improve farm profitability, reduce chemical use, and reduce environmental degradation. Environmental concerns and agricultural needs are of critical importance in the rural setting of UMES and its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay.
Nagchaudhuri, A., & Mitra, M., & Marsh, L., & Daughtry, C., & Earle, T., & Schwarz, J. (2008, June), Site Specific Farming, Environmental Concerns, And Associated Advanced Technologies, Provide A Platform For Active Learning And Research At A Land Grant University Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3139
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