3-Dimensional Mapping of Agricultural Microclimates within a Sub-field Level

Authors: Steven Schultze*, University of South Alabama, Jerel Foreman, University of South Alabama, Graham Crosby, University of South Alabama, Christopher Ambron, University of South Alabama
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Environment, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Agriculture, Precision Agriculture, Microclimates, GIS, Spatial Variability
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The field of precision agriculture has allowed growers to use the concepts of “Big Data” and data analytics in their management decisions. Rather than use a “one-size-fits-all” technique, growers can target resources to improve yields and quality. However, most precision agriculture research has pertained to soil variability being the primary determinant of yield-quality metrics while microclimate research has largely been ignored. This 3-year study sought to map and analyze differences in weather variables within a sub-field level at high spatial and temporal resolution over the course of an entire season where management decisions were needed. Using weather microsensors that record temperature and relative humidity data every minute, on the minute, the authors were able to gain insight in to the temperature differences within a grove of Satsuma oranges (Citrus unshiu) during the summer of 2016, and winters of 2017-18 and 2018-19. By exploring these differences and comparing them to the damages done via extreme weather events, the authors were able to see how temperature inversions, radiational frost events, and deep freezes can directly affect crop production on a tree-by-tree basis. Temperature differences as much as 8 degrees C at the same moment can exist within a grove, and when temperatures hover near freezing, small differences can have damaging effects to end season crop results. Correlations between the length of exposure to extreme cold and defoliation per tree (r = 0.96) and eventually production production per tree are discussed.

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