Department of Plant Sciences master’s student Matthew Rellaford was awarded first place for his poster presentation in the Marvin Stone Memorial Poster Competition at the 15th annual Nitrogen Use Efficiency Conference held Aug. 7-9 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Rellaford co-wrote the poster, “Predicting the Grain Protein Content of Spring Wheat with Hand-held Active Sensors,” with his adviser Joel Ransom, professor and Extension agronomist. This is the second consecutive year one of Ransom’s students has won the poster competition.
The focus of the research was to determine whether hand-held optical sensors can be used to predict grain protein content in spring wheat. Grain protein content is a significant factor in the final price wheat growers receive when they sell their grain, so there is significant interest in increasing protein without reducing yield.
The sensors give a reading called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, which is used to gauge crop health. Rellaford and Ransom compared the index at three plant growth stages and post-harvest grain protein content to determine possible predictive relationships. They found a modest relationship between the index and grain protein content. However, it was found to be predictive of protein content over the total field.
In their continuing research, a drone is being used to collect imagery from on-farm trials.
Logistical and financial support for this research was provided by the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council.
Rellaford has roots in Columbus, Ohio, and American Fork, Utah.
The 2017 Nitrogen Use Efficiency Conference was organized by the Louisiana State University AgCenter.
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