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Conference Speakers

2014 Speakers (more details coming soon)


Dr. David Mulla, University of Minnesota 
Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture (Download Presentation)

Dr. Mulla is a Professor and W.E. Larson Chair for Soil and Water Resources in the Department of Soil, Water and Climate at the University of Minnesota. As Director of the Precision Agriculture Center at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Mulla leads efforts to advance the science and practice of precision agriculture. He has been an associate editor for the Journal of Precision Agriculture since 1997; was elected a Fellow in SSSA and ASA in 1997 and 1999, respectively; and organized the 6th and 8th International Conferences on Precision Agriculture.

Dr. Mulla conducted the first ever variable rate field trials with nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer at the field scale, thereby for the first time establishing variable rate fertilizer management zones as technically feasible and economically profitable. He was the first scientist to apply geostatistics in Precision Agriculture to produce accurate maps on which variable rate application could be based. Mulla and his colleagues were the first scientists to apply remote sensing in Precision Agriculture for development of efficient soil sampling strategies. Broadly speaking, Mulla’s pioneering research on Precision Agriculture contributed significantly to its adoption in the US and around the world, fostering business opportunities, job growth and greater economic and environmental efficiency in agriculture.



Session Description: Interest is growing in the application of remote sensing for precision agriculture. This presentation will describe various platforms for remote sensing in precision agriculture, including satellites, airplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground vehicles and hand held sensors. Remote sensing allows spatial and temporal patterns in soil, crop and pest characteristics to be assessed for timely management interventions. Specific wavelengths and combinations of bands have been developed to identify specific types of soil, crop or pest characteristics. Advances in remote sensing have dramatically increased spatial resolution and return frequency of imaging. Crop scouting can be enhanced and targeted using information from remote sensing, improving the possibility of real time precision management of soils, crops and pests.


  Breakout: Using GIS and Terrain Attributes in Precision Conservation (Download Presentation)

Session Description: Small areas of fields can cause disproportionately large amounts of erosion and phosphorus pollution. These areas can be identified using high resolution digital elevation models and GIS based terrain analysis techniques. Conservation practices such as conservation tillage, riparian buffer strips and manure management practices can be tailored for these critical source areas. The basic tools used in GIS terrain analysis will be described. Examples will be provided showing how GIS terrain analysis can assist in improved precision conservation.


Gregg Carlson2 Dr. Gregg Carlson
On-Farm, Practical, Agronomic Site Specific Management is (Unfortunately) about the Numbers (Download Presentation)

For over 40 years, Dr. Gregg Carlson has held a research, teaching and/or extension appointment as an Agronomist – Soil Scientist at South Dakota State University. His research efforts have been directed to the mathematics of applied precision agronomic recommendations. He has authored or co-authored several hundred popular and peer reviewed agronomic articles and spoken at many more producer oriented meetings. While in the U. S. Army, in the early 1970’s, he used the first generation U.S. Department of Defense GPS system. He continues to use and teaches the use of GPS technology and spatial analysis to improve agronomic management. He has taught SDSU’s Precision Farming course since the early 1980’s and counts most of South Dakota’s practicing agronomists as his previous students. He has served as the Interim Head of SDSU’s Plant Science Department and as the Interim Director of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service. He continues to pursue what he believes to be South Dakota’s, and Alberta’s greatest economic development opportunity, increased agronomic production and profitability through precise and intense agronomic management.


Session Description: From accurately determining the cost of production, to optimizing fertilizer amounts and plant population, agronomic management is becoming more and more analytical. Discussion will relate how optimized site specific algorithms are developed but more importantly how they are used on the farm.


  Breakout: On-Farm, Practical, Agronomic Site Specific Management is (Unfortunately) about the Numbers (Download Presentation)
  Session Description: Practical use of the information discussed will be accomplished with producer examples.
  Dan Long  Dr. Dan Long, USDA-ARS
Sensing From a Combine: Monitoring More Than Grain Yield (Download Presentation)

Dr. Long is a research agronomist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and serves as Research Leader of the Soil and Water Conservation Research Unit near Pendleton, Oregon. Throughout his career, he has led efforts to develop practical uses of optical sensing technologies for measuring and mapping various crop-related attributes including foliar nitrogen content, grain protein/oil concentration, and biomass and straw yield. The focus of his research has been on the dryland wheat-based production system in the northern Plains and interior Pacific Northwest.


Session Description: A yield map by itself may not provide enough information. This presentation will describe including grain yield, grain protein, and crop height. The underlying sensing technologies that are used include the AgLeader YM2000 yield monitor, ProSpectra in-line NIR analyzer, and SICK light detection and ranging instrument. Different arithmetic combinations of these primary data allow for computation of useful secondary data including, but not limited to, grain N removal, harvest index, and straw yield. Potential applications of on-combine information include variable-rate N application, segregation of grain by protein content, and harvest of straw with allowance for soil conservation. Newer instruments are becoming available with improved accuracy, but with greater cost.


Breakout: Combined Vegetation Indices for In-Season N Management in Low Rainfall Areas (Download Presentation)
  Session Description: The NDVI is a widely used vegetation index for in-season crop N management. It works well in environments where water is not a limiting factor. But what about dryland crops grown in the warmer, drier areas of southern Alberta? This presentation will present information on combined spectral indices that are sensitive to foliar N status yet are resistant to crop variation that is due to plant available water. The performance of these indices will be compared with NDVI and illustrated with results from wheat fields in the interior Pacific Northwest.


Joseph Berry Dr. Joseph Berry, BASIS    Click Here to Download Dr. Berry's Presentations and Handouts
Precision Agriculture’s Bold New Era: a brief history, current expression and radical new directions (Download Presentation)

Joseph K. Berry is a leading consultant and educator in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. He is the author of the popular books Beyond Mapping, Spatial Reasoning and Map Analysis, author of the Beyond Mapping column for GeoWorld magazine for over twenty years, and written over two hundred papers on the theory and application of map analysis and modeling techniques. He has been actively involved in precision agriculture since 1992 as author, educator and entrepreneur focusing on the issues, procedures and underlying theory supporting site-specific management.


Session Description: Precision Ag has come a long way since the 1990s. Yield mapping is commonplace for many crops and locales, site-specific management of field fertilization has a large number of users, remote sensing applications are maturing and irrigation control, field leveling, variable rate seeding, disease/pest modeling, stress maps, robotics, precision conservation and a myriad other computer mapping uses are coming online. These technological expressions of Geotechnology are at the cutting edge of agricultural science and management. Future directions in innovation, however, will likely focus on the analytical tools and applications. This revolutionary leap requires a paradigm shift in the foundation of agricultural science— from traditional non-spatial analysis procedures to quantitative data analysis tools that fully incorporate the spatial distribution (as well as the numerical distribution) inherent in most field collected data. From this perspective, spatial patterns and relationships within and among mapped data layers come to the forefront of agricultural research with recommendations that extend “what to do” at an aggregated field level “to where to do it” within an individual field.

This presentation investigates the legacy of Precision Ag’s unique expression of Geotechnology, its current challenges and probable future directions.


  Breakout: Returning the Scientific Horse to in Front of the Technical Cart: a map-ematical framework for extending traditional math/stat operations into the spatial realm (Download Presentation)

Session Description: This session provides an introduction and discussion of the concepts, underlying theory, data considerations, procedures, and practical considerations in applying advanced grid-based map analysis techniques in Precision Ag. It investigates Spatial Analysisand Spatial Statistics operations using several hands-on examples. The analytical tools are organized into a new and innovative SpatialSTEM framework that relates them to traditional quantitative analysis groupings familiar to most science, technology, engineering and math/stat professionals.


Chris Holzapfel2

Chris Holzapfel, IHARF

Chris Holzapfel is the Research Manager with the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF), a not-for-profit producer led organization whose mission is to promote profitable and sustainable agriculture through applied research and extension activities. Chris was raised on a mixed farm in southeast Saskatchewan, studied agriculture at Olds College (Diploma, 2000), the University of Lethbridge (BSc, 2005) and the University of Manitoba (MSc, 2008) and has spent the last 13 growing seasons assisting with and managing field trials at the AAFC Indian Head Research Farm. His MSc research explored the merits of using active, optical sensors to direct post-emergent variable rate N applications in canola and, through IHARF, Chris managed a multi-site, multi-year project evaluating the overall suitability of this approach to N management for spring crops in Western Canada. With funding from government, private industry and producers, Chris currently manages an extensive and successful research program evaluating a wide range of products and practices for all major (and some minor) western Canadian field crops.


Breakout: Sensor-based N Management for Western Canada: Opportunities and Risks (Download Presentation)

Session Description: This presentation will provide information on active optical sensors for agriculture and the potential to use this technology for addressing spatial and temporal variability in the N requirements of spring crops in Western Canada. This presentation will draw primarily from research conducted between 2005-2008 that served to develop the crop/region specific algorithms employed by the GreenSeekerTM optical sensor and to evaluate the potential merits (and risks) of managing N in this manner. Conclusions are drawn from a combination of small plot and commercial field-scale trial results acquired over a wide range of environmental conditions. Recommendations will take into account agronomic principles and economic considerations and time will be allotted for questions and further discussion.
 Dan Heaney Dr. Dan Heaney, RandomCross Consulting

Dan Heaney has over 30 years of experience as an agronomist in Western Canada. Dan completed his education at the University of Alberta. He recieved his BSc in Agriculture, majoring in Agronomy, in 1980, followed by a MSc in soil fertility in 1985, and PhD in Soil Chemistry in 2001. Dan started RandomCross Consulting in 2007.


Breakout: 4R Nutrient Stewardship

Session Description:
Dan will discuss the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Principles, Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place. 4R nutrient stewardship provides a framework to achieve cropping system goals, such as increased production, increased farmer profitability, enhanced environmental protection and improved sustainability.











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