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Reactive Nitrogen Management Using Remote Sensing

With reactive nitrogen management, a conservative N application is made near planting, and additional N is applied only when and where needed. The main objective of this study is to develop technologies for reactive N management.

Remote sensing (aerial imaging) is used to detect crop N stress during the growing season. A prototype variable-rate application system, which includes a high-clearance sprayer, individually controlled drop nozzles, and map-based control software, was developed for midseason N application. A multiple-year field study was conducted in Illinois and Iowa to evaluate the agronomic and economic benefits of reactive N management. Preliminary results showed that aerial images, with proper ground-truthing, could detect corn N stress during the growing season. In general, corn had good yield response to midseason nitrogen applications.

This research was conducted by Case Corporation in collaboration with the University of Illinois and Iowa State University.

Shufeng Han, Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural Engineering
(217) 333-2854; han@staff.uiuc.edu

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