In a perfect world, farmers would know exactly how much water and fertilizer to use to maximize yield and minimize environmental damage. We’ll likely never reach that kind of perfection, but DWFI researcher Haishun Yang has created systems that bring farmers about as close as they can get.
Yang is known internationally for developing first-of-concept online crop simulation models and modelbased crop management decision support tools. His research covers crop growth and yield, crop nitrogen rate management, realtime irrigation scheduling and assessment yield. “Farmers in some of the world’s most water and food compromised regions now use these tools to improve results,” he explained.
The tools Yang has been instrumental in developing include the Global Yield Gap Atlas and online modeling systems, Hybrid-Maize, Maize-N and CornSoyWater. According to Yang, younger farmers have used the models to make decisions that normally require years of experience. The systems also help decision-makers and policymakers improve policies by better predicting outcomes in varied scenarios.
“The science is sound, but the programs offer very user-friendly interfaces,” Yang said. The popular models have appeared in more than 60 independent studies in peer reviewed publications. Industries in the U.S. and around the world license them and extension education programs use them for training and service.
What’s next for Yang? He is working to integrate the tools into a comprehensive cornsoybean cropping system that will streamline producers’ decisionmaking abilities through an entire growing season. The system also will aid extension, teaching and research. As the world’s population grows, efficiencyproducing tools like these will be critical to next-gen water and food security.