Precision Pasture Fertilization with GPS

Kurt LawtonEducation, Fertilizer, GPS, Guidance

Who says livestock producers can’t benefit from precision agriculture? Ever tried to follow your tracks when spreading manure in a hayfield or pasture?

Extension educators were inspired to secure the same advantages for the southwest Alabama livestock producers.

“Much like row-crop farmers, livestock producers use fertilizers and herbicides to make their pastures more productive, but they often have trouble making uniform applications,” says Ken Kelley, a regional Extension livestock educator.

In the case of fertilizers, Kelley says, the end result of uneven fertilization turns out to be alternating light and dark green patches throughout the field.

Chuck Madaris, a purebred and commercial producer who also sells hay, benefitted from the grant and initially used his GPS device to spread chicken litter, which serves as his sole fertilizer source.

“When we spread litter in the hayfield, it was just about impossible to do a good job because the fields are cut smooth and it’s almost impossible finding tracks,” he says.

“GPS definitely offers an advantage.”

Madaris also adapted the GPS device for use with spray applications, which seemed to work more effectively than the foam markers previously used.

He says he has not been disappointed.

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