Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have become commonplace. Used in the car, GPS assists drivers in finding their way. In the tractor or applicator, it has an array of uses that make applications more accurate.
“GPS units are available to fit almost any budget and offer a wide range of uses,” says Amy Winstead, regional Extension agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “Handheld GPS units are lightweight, inexpensive, portable devices used to provide navigation and basic mapping capabilities.”
The units typically are purchased with some type of map, often accompanying the unit on a CD. However, it is best to have some idea of what you would like to do with the unit before purchasing so that you can purchase the correct unit and software to complete the task.
Know Your Application
||Avoid Potassium Deficiency
With Timely Soil Testing
• Don’t skimp on the recommended rate or wait until sidedress to apply all of your potash.
• Split applications on deep sand – some applied at planting and some at sidedress.
• Consider making a foliar potassium application at peak bloom or where leaf spot problems have been found.
• Apply potassium where deficiency has occurred in the past.
“Software is available that enables you to view, edit or incorporate additional layers to the data collected with your GPS unit,” Winstead says. “Determine what you want to do with the data and whether capable software is included with your purchase or must be purchased separately.”
Handheld GPS units are finding their way into more agricultural applications. Daniel Mullenix, biosystems engineer with Auburn University, says producers can determine acreages quickly and outline field borders.
“You can mark locations in the field – insect traps, trouble spots that you want the Extension agent to look at, invasive weed species, such as mapping of coggingrass that is occurring in Alabama, or locations of rain gauges,” he says.
Mullenix says it is a good way to conduct or record locations of soil samples and nutrient recommendations.
“This is an excellent way to map out where you took soil samples, then correlate it with your field map to create application maps if your system allows for such coordination,” he says. “There is no limit to what you can do with these units.”
For more information on handheld GPS devices, visit the Alabama Extension precision ag Web site at www.aces.edu/precisionag.com.
Contact Amanda Huber at (352) 486-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.