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Electric Sensors Designed To Boost Crop Yields
Farmer-inventor David Lankford has spent nearly 50 years raising vegetables and crops. For the last 2 decades heís been conducting research to better understand nutrient and water uptake by growing plants. One of the ideas Lankford advocates is the concept of just-in-time water management. Itís a concept he compares to just-in-time inventory management in manufacturing, where the supply of parts or ingredients arrives precisely when needed.
  Lankford says every irrigated farmer heís met over the years could benefit from more timely application of water and fertilizer. Tests at Clemson University have shown that water applied 2 times a week rather than once on watermelons produced better yields. Other crops have shown similar results when water and nutrients are portioned according to the plantís needs rather than whatís convenient for the irrigator.
  Lankford says supplying water and nutrients to plants isnít any different than quenching a childís desire for a drink. When a kid is thirsty, heís thirsty, and he canít wait till you think he might be ready. Likewise, when a plant needs water, itís usually under stress, and eliminating that stress quickly is vitally important. A plant that isnít stressed is operating at peak efficiency and reaching its true potential.
  Lankford and his son Lance have developed a probe system to determine when growing plants ideally need water and nutrients. The probes, which cost $2,500 to $3,000 each, are placed into the soil in white plastic tubing. Sensors on the probes detect plant response across various soil types, various levels of moisture content, and fertility levels at various stages of plant growth.
  Lankford says corn growers used to use l lb. of nitrogen as a rule of thumb to produce 1 bushel of corn. That number is now actually closer to .67 lbs. per bushel, which has been determined by several types of research, including Lankfordís.  
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Agrimeasures, LLC, 29120 Farms Lane, Trappe, Md. 21673 (ph 410 200-0988).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4