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AGRI4401 - Advanced Crop Production - Agriculture - Report Writing Assessment Answer

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AGRI4401 Advanced Crop Production Report Writing Assessment Answer
Assessment Task:

The report
Use references where appropriate. See the marking guideline below for allocation of marks/effort. Note that there is no perfect way to do this analysis and it will involve some
trial and error – sometimes, the simple solutions work best.

The aim of the assignment
As an agronomist you are given some soil and crop yield data for paddock (Bungulla Farm) BF66 and you need to make some immediate (current season Sections 1 and 2) and long term decisions (section 3) to assist the farmer.

1. Yield goals – Based on the yield data for 2008, 2009 and 2011 (Files - BF66 Canola yield08 short.csv BF66 Wheat yield09 short.csv and BF66 Wheat yield 11 short.csv), you should map yields in each of the years to assess spatial yield variability in BF66. Determine if there is temporal variability. Then advise the farmer if he/she should identify different management classes (based on the yield variability – i.e. the farmer might apply different amounts of input onto different areas of the field) or if he/she should treat the paddock as one (i.e. uniform application of inputs over the whole field) for the coming season.
Imagine that the farmer is going to seed Mace wheat in the paddock BF66. You should determine the yield potential (yield goal/s) for the different areas of that field
(or the whole field if it is to be treated uniformly). You should explain the basis for calculating the different yield goals (removal of nutrients in grain, or aiming for
maximum or average yield potential based on past yield data). You should also produce a management class map (only based on the yield data – which can
combine the yield maps over the three years (or two of the wheat years?) – depending on temporal variability). The map should show the different zones (areas)
associated with the management classes (unless you recommend treating the field uniformly), along with recommendations for application of nitrogen and phosphorus
in the coming season.

2. Soil pH decisions – based on existing soil pH data (File – BF66 Soil pH.csv), you are required to make recommendations for management of soil pH on BF66 (given the
soil pH data). First map spatial variability for soil pH, then decide/recommend if the farmer should apply lime and, if so, how much (with reasons – you will need to dosome of your own research here – one source might be the Department of Agriculture and Food WA website or the Booklet produced by Gazey and Davies (2009) (Soil acidity : a guide for WA farmers and consultants), which is on LMS. As part of this, you need to specify if the lime should be applied at a single rate to the whole field or applied at different rates, according to soil pH variability, and how many management classes (for lime application rates) should be used. Attach all relevant maps. The soil pH(CaCl 2 ) is given at three depths – base your lime recommendations on the top 30 cm of soil i.e. over the three depths 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-30 cm depths, being the soil depths with most of the plant roots.

3. Combining the information into ‘potential management classes’, for more detailed investigation (You will need to use all the files BF66 radiometrics and EM
cleaned.csv, BF66 Soil pH.csv as well as BF66 Canola yield08 short.csv, BF66 Wheat yield09 short.csv and BF66 Wheat yield11 short.csv).

You have advised the farmer that you need to ground-truth the information collected so far, so you can better assess the reasons for the yield variability and to
decide if there are other factors having a major effect on yield (water-logging, gravel, weeds, pests etc.). You should make recommendations as to how many soil samples
 are required to characterise paddock BF66, based on potential management classes(derived using some or all the available information on soil type and yield potential –
depending on the amount of variability and correlations to yield etc).

To do this you should firstly decide which are the important data/parameters to use for your potential management classes. For example, if some of the soil parameters
(like EM38 (shallow), gamma radiometrics – K and thorium, pH at three depths) are correlated with yield, then your potential management zones would include those
parameters as well as the appropriate yield data (the yield data coming from Section 1 above – e.g. use canola yield 08, wheat yield 2009 and wheat yield 2011, OR if the
yield patterns are consistent across years then you might use a single, combined, yield map from averaging the normalised yield data)

Next produce a map of each of these selected parameters for your report (the yield maps are already done from section 1). Then you should combine this data (cluster
analysis) to produce your final potential management class map. Include on this map the locations of your proposed soil samples/paddock observations. You should also
explain what other factors (other than soil samples/analyses) will need to be investigated at these selected sites.


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  • Posted on : September 05th, 2018
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