A two-year AU research study was conducted in the traditional peanut producing area of Alabama to evaluate the potential of adopting GPS-based auto-guidance systems for peanut production.

Yield differences that occurred during peanut digging as a result of deviation of the target row (3.5 and 7 inches off) with respect to exactly over the row (aided by RTK guidance) were evaluated in both conservation tillage and conventional tillage plantings.

“Studies conducted in Alabama under straight-row conditions showed that yield losses increase as the digger deviates from the target row. Net returns also decrease as the digger deviates from the target row. Our data indicates that row deviations of approximate 1 inch might result in yield losses of 166 pounds per acre,” according to Ortiz.

Peanut yields on conventional-tillage were 600 pounds per acre higher than strip-tillage with twin rows yielding more than 472 pounds per acre over single rows.

“We looked at the yield differences between RTK (real time kinematic) auto-guidance and manual guidance at two farmer fields in Georgia and three fields in Alabama. Significant differences between both guidance systems were observed on the two fields in Georgia, with higher yields from the RTK auto-guidance systems.

“When we looked at net returns, between both systems — RTK auto-guidance and manual guidance — higher net returns were observed on the RTK auto-guidance treatments. Higher yields also were observed from using the RTK auto-guidance treatment.

“In one field the farmer perceived net returns of $23,000 for using RTK auto-guidance systems.

In summary, says Ortiz, higher yields and net returns resulted from using the auto-guidance system to harvest peanuts.

 “Overall, yields were higher for the conventional tillage and twin-row pattern treatments compared to the other treatments. The use of an auto-guidance system will allow growers to capitalize on the increases in yield potential by implementing changes in tillage and row patterns as those evaluated in this study.”


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