Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biosystems Engineering Technology

Major Professor

John B. Wilkerson

Committee Members

John Bradley, Michael Buschermohle, William Hart


Much interest has been focused on site-specific crop production since the introduction of grain yield monitoring systems. Considerable research has been conducted in the area of site-specific grain production. Lack of a cotton yield monitor has slowed implementation of site-specific practices in cotton production. However, due to the intense level of management corrunonly associated with in cotton production. it may prove to be an ideal crop for site-specific practices.

Preliminary testing was conducted in the fall of 1995 to verify that a batch weighing system used in conjunction with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment was a satisfactory method of monitoring cotton yield variability for field-scale research. The objective of the yield monitoring system was to enable field-scale research, rather than being restricted by small plots. The weighing system was improved in 1996 by increasing the weighing capacity, ease of operation, and reduction of the basket weight to cotton capacity ratio.

In 1996 a five-acre portion of a production cotton field in Milan, Tennessee was selected to monitor spatial variation throughout the growing season. The field was divided into 182 plots. An extensive soil survey was performed on the field in the spring revealing six soil series within the test area. Soil samples were extracted and analyzed from each plot in the spring and the fall. Soil moisture was monitored throughout the growing season from 26 observation sites within the test area.

The overall objective of the research was to relate soil chemical and physical variability within a production field to crop yield. 1996 field data was the first of collected a three-year study. Therefore, information obtained from 1996 field data collected cannot be considered conclusive without statistical replication. It should be noted that weather patterns tend to have an effect on spatial performance of crops. Although some of the variables measured during the first year had a greater affect on yields than others.

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