Patrick J. English, 82 Stoneville Rd, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS, Sherri L DeFauw, Ascend Geospatial LLC., Cleveland, MS and Larry L. Falconer, Delta Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS
Mississippi’s shift in cropping system dominance from upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) to corn (Zea mays L.) has caused variably-scaled challenges for producers and other crop care professionals. Dramatic shifts in crop sequences, planting intensities, and weather patterns have produced inter-related complications associated with optimal planting intervals and risk assessment determinations as well as gauging potential yield penalties for continuous production. These are important knowledge gaps to be filled-in. Geospatial integration of a 3-year corn production footprint (derived from 2013-2015 Cropland Data Layers) with a series of updated temperature-based planting date probability maps enables farmers and other crop professionals to adapt management strategies, minimize risk, and improve farm-gate earnings. Corn production has recently expanded to occupy close to 60% of Mississippi’s harvested land base. Over half of the counties in the Delta have invested between 60-85% of their arable land in corn across the 3-year study interval. Comparison of risk probability maps generated from weather station versus PRISM (Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model)-derived-data maps has revealed 2-3 week delays in corn planting dates for two areas in the southern half of Mississippi. Econometric models suggest higher premiums for early corn harvests. Based on PRISM data models spatial analysis indicates 17% of the statewide acreages could advance planting dates 1-3 weeks at very low risk 10%. Detailed comparisons of these decision-support models is underway to evaluate the efficacy of PRISM-based weather grids (at a resolution of 4 km2) versus traditional weather station point data (N=330) interpolated to produce geospatial maps that, in turn, highlight early planting and early harvest probabilities ( based on growing degree days) for corn in Mississippi.