The Maricopa Agricultural Center is a testing ground for precision agriculture.
It’s where the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is finding ways to advance precision agriculture. The American Arizona 360 network visited the Maricopa Agricultural Center and made a video (see below).
The research farm covers 1,200 acres. It’s main focus is on cotton, small grains, alfalfa, and new specialty crops that could be used to provide fibers, oils, pharmaceuticals, etc.
The research projects are related to irrigation and crop water requirements, soils and crop fertility, insects and IPM management, cotton production and breeding, new crops and their uses, weed control, cultural management practices, plant diseases, and urban entomology.
Machines tested at the Maricopa Agricultural Center include a planter that can automatically adjust how deep it plants seeds based on data about a field’s soil composition. Data used to program automated equipment is gathered by other machines equipped with sensors, cameras and navigation systems.
“At the rate we can cover the field with this machine and other machines like it, it’s nearly impossible to measure with such high resolution and precision, as opposed to a whole group of people trying to do those exact same measurements”, said John Heun, an engineer with the university.