Spatial Analysis of Species Diversity in Pastures Using GIS and GPS Technologies

Iowa State University, Rhodes Research and Demonstration Farm Report # ISRF00-39

John A. Guretzky and Ken J. Moore

“The Rhodes research farm with its large topographic variability and extensive pasture acreage is an ideal site to evaluate the application of precision agriculture technologies to forage production and management. In previous studies at Rhodes it has been shown that forage legumes are adapted to sites with higher slopes (15 – 20%), and increasing species diversity with legumes at these sites improves productivity and forage quality. In the current study we are using global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) technologies to describe and map the spatial variability in pasture vegetation and examine its relationship to maps generated for slope, drainage, and electrical conductivity. Our objective is to determine whether these technologies can be used successfully to predict grass and legume distribution within the pastures based on topography and soil properties.”

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