Picture above: Mississippi State’s iconic M-State spirit mark is showcased on the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Black Belt Experiment Station in Brooksville as a part of a analysis undertaking that checks precision planting capabilities. (Picture by David Garraway)
At a web site viewable by airplane that’s certain to thrill Bulldog followers who’ve the chance to fly over Noxubee County, an iconic Mississippi State spirit mark is being utilized in a brand new means by college agriculture researchers.
The M-State brand symbolizes MSU’s place as a high analysis college, rating among the many high 15 nationally in agricultural sciences 12 months after 12 months, but it surely’s uncommon for the spirit mark to play a task within the analysis itself.
When Dan Reynolds, affiliate vp for worldwide packages and former Hartwig Endowed Chair in Soybean Agronomy, tasked his analysis workforce with testing the accuracy of a precision planter, the undertaking introduced the possibility to showcase the basic Mississippi State brand in an sudden setting. The problem resulted in twin two-acre fields lush with soybeans which have come to bear the M-State spirit mark on the Black Belt Experiment Station in Brooksville, a unit of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. The precision planter is a tractor outfitted with GPS know-how used to plant crops.
“As agronomy researchers, we examine completely different plant populations and row spacings throughout completely different varieties. With a standard planter, altering these components could be fairly a problem. For example, altering row spacing on a standard planter means a number of hours of arduous work within the warmth,” Reynolds mentioned.
That’s why the workforce personalized the precision planter.
“Our customized analysis planter relies on precision planting know-how. The all-electric planter is pushed by GPS and permits us to simply examine any row width from 15 or 40 inches by an easy-to-use hydraulic system and alter any plant inhabitants, switching between two varieties with out having to cease and refill the planter,” he mentioned.
Graham Oakley, analysis affiliate II, got here up with the thought of utilizing the M-State spirit mark to check the planter, and he uploaded a GIS file of the mark to the planter’s software program. In a single plot, the workforce planted two styles of soybeans, every immune to completely different herbicides. One selection made up the foreground of the M-State brand, whereas one other made up the background. As soon as the plant had grown lush and inexperienced, the researchers utilized herbicide to terminate one of many varieties, which revealed the M-State design. Within the different plot, they planted two completely different styles of soybeans utilizing the identical methodology.
“When these soybeans mature within the subject, one can be a maroon colour and the opposite can be grey. The M-State banner and border can be maroon and all the pieces else can be grey,” Oakley mentioned.
He defined that every M-State, roughly 250 ft lengthy and 350 ft large, demonstrates the accuracy of the planter and unmanned aerial car know-how used to look at plant development.
“The spirit mark checks the capabilities of the planter in terms of row narrowness and plant density,” Oakley mentioned. “We planted in a hatched sample to get a denser picture. Every row is 21 squares, which you wouldn’t do in a standard system. The element of the M-State reveals how one can swap between varieties even inside a single row and reveals a planting accuracy inside a margin of error that’s lower than an inch.”
He mentioned the undertaking additionally showcases the capabilities of the unmanned aerial car, or UAV, the workforce used to confirm the accuracy of the planter and to find out if variations in varieties may very well be obtained from the aerial view.
“We flew a UAV over each fields and it picks up the variations within the varieties. We are able to see the pink and grey M-State through UAV despite the fact that each varieties are nonetheless at the moment inexperienced,” Oakley mentioned.
The show stunned an area farmer who occurred to fly over the sector this summer time because the Bulldogs turned reigning nationwide champions. The analysis workforce, which additionally contains Beau Varner, analysis affiliate III, expects the maroon and grey M-State to mature into its “full glory” across the time of the SEC residence opener towards LSU at Davis Wade Stadium.
For extra on MSU’s Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, go to www.pss.msstate.edu.
For extra on the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, go to www.mafes.msstate.edu.