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Ceres Imaging Blog

Aerial imaging & agriculture tech news for farmers

Mechanization will be needed to maintain wine industry acres, says E. & J. Gallo Winery's Striegler

“Everybody in this room knows that labor is a big issue for us,” said Keith Striegler, grower outreach specialist at E. & J. Gallo Winery, addressing a crowd of wine grape industry insiders at a conference in Sacramento. Striegler said Gallo is investigating mechanization in response to that issue, and trying to improve quality in doing so. “The reality is it’s not going to get any bette...

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Precision technology to optimize nutrients and protect the environment

Fabián Fernández has history in Midwest ag research, having worked in Illinois before moving to the University of Minnesota, and he’s seen the challenges of improving nutrient practices. “When we make nutrient decisions, we don’t always think about availability,” Fernández said to a room full of precision agriculture professionals at the Info Ag conference in St. Louis this year. That me...

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Field evaluation of almond varieties

“The first thing we have to accept is there is no such thing as a perfect variety,” said Roger Duncan, the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Stanislaus County director. “Even nonpareil, around for over 100 years, the premium variety, we know it still has its problems.” Duncan, addressing a group of growers in Modesto this year, presenting research examining the pros and co...

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Efficient vineyard project tests limits of mechanization for grape growers

  It’s a long way from upstate New York, where Concord grapes grow on the banks of Lake Erie, to Fresno, where winegrape vineyards bake in dry heat. Terry Bates, a viticulturist from Cornell University, made that trip to discuss an issue close to the hearts of grape growers everywhere: labor scarcity for vineyards, and how precision ag and mechanization can help. “A lot of our Concord vi...

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Save hard-earned nutrients: A view of whole-orchard recycling from UC's Holtz

What happens when an orchard’s life is over? Currently, many growers destroy the trees and start again with the soil. Brent Holtz, county director and farm advisor in San Joaquin County for the University of California Cooperative Extension thinks the trees shouldn’t disappear from the picture. “As growers you spend 25 years growing that tree,” he said to an audience in Modesto this year...

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The challenge of management zones and precision nitrogen

There’s nothing easy about farming, and there’s nothing easy about precision ag either. At the heart of the challenge of precision ag is how to capture reliable data and how to plan management zones for variable rate application. That challenge was the focus for Raj Khosla of Colorado State, who addressed an audience of precision agriculture professionals at the Info Ag conference in St....

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Variable rate phosphorus uncertainties can't be ignored, says Kentucky's McGrath

What’s the difference between accuracy and precision? It might not seem like a big deal outside of a spelling bee, but to Joshua McGrath, an extension specialist in agricultural soil management at the University of Kentucky, it’s a huge deal. McGrath spoke to precision agriculture professionals in St. Louis about accurate and precise agriculture, and how to implement variable rate phosph...

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Soil sampling problems hinder variable rate application for phosphorus

  Iowa State’s Antonio Mallarino came to the Info Ag conference in St. Louis with a gauntlet to throw down: “We have lower grain prices, stable fertilizer prices,” he said, “and real or perceived serious agricultural impacts on water quality.” Mallarino’s pitch: Better soil testing pays. Yield levels must be considered. “Yield can vary greatly in fields,” Mallarino told the crowd. “It va...

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UC advisor Blake Sanden retires after decades of research in almonds and pistachios

Blake Sanden, a University of California advisor for almond and pistachio growers since the 1990s, officially retired as of June (for more on Blake’s career achievements, see this blog on the UC site). But if you talk to Sanden, you can hear the same passion as ever for research projects that inform California growers. Sanden talked with Ceres Imaging about his career working with tree n...

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Traditional nitrogen calculation methods like MRTN don't tell whole story, warns Missouri's Newell Kitchen

Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of precision agriculture professionals, University of Missouri professor Newell Kitchen called roll, asking how many were from a corn-growing region. About half the crowd stood. Then he asked the audience to remain standing if they’re from an area with too much water, the bulk of them did, naming home areas including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Manitoba. “Th...

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