UC ANR Cooperative Extension experts are creating digital devices and software applications to improve the precision of crop and livestock breeding and raising techniques.
- Digitally aided decisions: CropManage, a UC ANR digital application that growers can access by smart phone, tablet or desktop computer has functions to quickly determine the actual fertilizer needs of a crop, thereby reducing some crops’ nitrogen fertilizer use by nearly one-third. Growers also can use CropManage’s weather-based irrigation scheduling function to track and manage water use for their fields. In commercial-scale CropManage trials, broccoli consumed 48 percent less water than is used in conventional plantings, and suffered no reductions in yield or crop quality.
- Knowing nitrogen levels: Growers can quickly assess soil nitrogen levels in their fields using soil nitrate quick test strips. Developed by UC ANR, the test strips indicate whether soil contains adequate nitrogen. Used in combination with the CropManage application, the soil nitrate quick test can help growers reduce nitrogen fertilizer use by about a third, with yields comparable to those of fields raised under standard fertilization practices.