Specialization: No-till system management and precision agriculture
Frequent contributor to CropWatch
CropWatch is the crop production and crop scouting news website offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, published by EdMedia. Paul provides articles on the topics listed below, machinery management, and his various research projects.
Sample Educational Programs:
No-Till Planting Equipment and No-Till System Management
Planters, drills, and air seeders in no-till must cut and handle the residue, penetrate the soil to desired seeding depth, establish seed-to-soil contact, and close the seed-vee. Proper planting equipment, adjustments, and operation makes this easy. However, no-till is far more than just planting the crop without tillage. The crop production system must be managed properly the year-around—spreading residue, placing nutrients, establishing the crop, controlling pests, and more—to ensure success and fully benefit from no-till.
Conservation Tillage Equipment and System Evaluation
A wide range of equipment is available for use in crop production. Likewise, there are a variety of tillage systems used depending on field conditions, conservation requirements, management ability, and a host of other factors. Understanding and selecting the proper ones are keys to profitability and conservation of resources.
Cultural Practices for Soil and Water Conservation
Soil and water are valuable resources that need to be protected for use by future generations. Though used for crop production, there are best management practices available to conserve them and to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. Yields can be increased with improved soil structure and better water use, enhancing profitability and sustainability.
Site Specific Crop Management from a Systems Approach
Variability exists in nature, yet crop production tends to have a blanket approach. By properly matching crops and inputs to the potential of each site, profitability can be improved while protecting the environment. However, producers shouldn't be using the new precision ag technologies and equipment to make "nickel and dime" decisions while making some "dollar" mistakes by not considering all their options and using a systems approach.
Calibrating Yield Monitors and Combine Dynamics
Yield monitors and many other precision ag technologies are powerful tools to improve profitability in crop production. However, they are only tools and must be calibrated and used properly to gather accurate data and make informed decisions. Producers need to understand the function, operation, and application of any of these tools, realizing their limitations as well.
Interpreting Precision Ag Maps and Developing Management Zones
Precision ag involves field and data analysis to make informed management decisions on a site specific basis to improve profitability and protect the environment. Recognizing patterns on maps and identifying their causes in the field are keys to making the proper decisions and developing usable management zones. An understanding of how productivity is affected by field variability and varying the levels of crop inputs is needed to develop the zones and management schemes within the zones.