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Wheat crop diagnostics may be as close as a cell phone in the near future from ongoing research at the Texas AgriLife Research-Amarillo, Texas AgriLife Extension Service-Dallas, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University and Colorado State University.
Diverse practices beneficial
With the initial five years of work, researchers found that farmers who used diverse practices instead of planting continuous wheat were getting better results, and while that data was reported in some areas, it wasn't consolidated and easily accessible to farmers, Michels said.
"Accessibility, and even more important, the ability to get the data real time, is what we are looking for now," Michels said. "Instead of sending a picture or clippings of the wheat or an insect by mail or taking it in for an expert to analyze, the information is instantaneous. We hope some day they can take a picture and submit that for analysis."
But to get to that point, it takes someone to do the "field-truthing" and see how it will work. That is why he and others will be working directly with producers to see what they want, what they need and how it should be tweaked to make sure it is something that has value.
Michels said by allowing the diagnosis to take place in the field and determining an appropriate action to take in most cases, this real-time prescription application should save time and money for producers and help them schedule treatment earlier for fields that might need it, thus reducing the overall damage.