Figuring out how a rice crop was faring used to be a head-scratching exercise with predictably unpredictable results.
But now a few punches on a keyboard can yield a pretty close forecast for a rice crop and tell a farmer what changes could improve the outcome at harvest.
The program, Rice Development Advisory, stems from extensive data collected over the years by researchers at the Texas AgriLife Research Center in Beaumont. They methodically accumulated reams of data in the course of studying and creating improved varieties of rice.
As technology improved, the researchers have been able to recrank the data into computerized programs useful to farmers in decision-making.
"It's a fairly old idea," said Dr. Ted Wilson, center director. "What we are doing now is a logical extension of previous methods where information had to be entered into a computer by hand. "We do a lot of work on how crops grow and how pests develop. The problem is that if you are compiling numbers for one location, it is not too hard. But when one has several locations, it's a logistical problem to keep track."
The team of rice researchers at the Beaumont center work with rice farmers in more than 20 Texas counties and collaborate with their counterparts in many other rice-producing countries.
Combining the collected data in a usable format has been the bailiwick of Dr. Yubin Yang, AgriLife Research biological systems analyst at Beaumont. He and the team of researchers have spent years building climatic and soil databases and devising programs to accurately predict rice development. He's done the same to develop other cropping system applications, such as a post-harvest grain management program and a rice water conservation analyzer.
Farmers are increasingly using the modeling software online and researchers around the world have drawn on the components pertaining to the climate, soil and weather, Yang said. He calls the databases collectively iAIMS, Integrated Agricultural Information and Management System. The entire package, including the cropping system software, can be found at http://beaumont.tamu.edu/eTools/eTools_default.htm.
"The obvious benefit would be planning for planting, irrigation, fertilizer application and harvesting," Yang said of farmer use. He and Wilson said about 300 Texas rice farmers and researchers have used the Rice Growth Development tool so far.
Though the databases were created with Texas rice research and farmers in mind, the data can be accessed globally, the researchers said.
"A person can access the data from anywhere, but it has the most application for U.S. rice-producing states," Yang said.
Wilson said a researcher working on any U.S. crop, not just rice, might use the climatic database to see how the growth pattern will be affected, for example.
He said that in addition to using the databases for farming decisions, the information can be used to help bioenergy companies decide where to locate.
"One of the uses might be to help determine where to locate a bioenergy facility based on the function of the land, what crops are grown in the area, how far the land is from major highways and other such factors," Wilson added.
He said the researchers are continually modifying and adding features to the databases and applications as situations and needs change.
He noted collaborations with scientists from other institutions, including one focusing on how to best control fireants with parasites and other pathogens. Another area under development is the Rice Water Conservation Analyzer which will allow predictions of water use which in turn will help researchers and landowners make decisions on conserving water.
To learn more about research at the Beaumont center, see http://beaumont.tamu.edu
Kathleen Phillips | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy