Using Precision Technologies Such as GPS and GIS in Managing Pickle Production

Pickling Cucumber Improvement Committee Meeting Abstract

R. W. Heiniger

Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University

The essence of precision agriculture is the collection and interpretation of detailed information for use in managing agricultural systems. New technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) provide the tools for rapid and cost effective data collection and interpretation. To be profitable, those using precision agriculture techniques must be able to collect information accurately and inexpensively and then must interpret and apply the knowledge gained from that information to reduce costs, increase yield, or better utilize natural resources. The first step in this process for pickle producers is to identify the types of information that could lead to improved production practices. Once the needed information has been identified, a data collection and interpretation system can be designed using GPS and GIS technologies. Finally, an assessment is needed comparing the value gained from the information collected compared to the costs incurred in collecting and interpreting the information. While there are few cases where precision technologies are currently used in the pickle industry, situations where growers of other agricultural commodities report positive experiences with precision farming techniques should provide an insight into the factors that will influence the success of precision farming in the pickle industry.

This presentation will discuss the types of information that have been most valuable in assessing and managing agricultural production practices, the current state of precision technologies for collection and interpretation of field data, and the influence of precision farming practices on farm profitability. Several case studies will be used to discuss collection of data related to soil properties, remote sensing of crop growth to manage pests and nutrients, and the use of yield maps to assess current farming practices and crop quality. Technologies discussed will include GPS, GIS, automated yield monitors, variable-rate application systems, in-field guidance systems, and remote sensing.

For further information, contact:

  • Dr. R. W. Heiniger, Extension Specialist
  • Vernon James Research and Extension Center
  • North Carolina State University, Plymouth, NC 27962
  • Telephone: 252-793-4428; Fax: 252-793-5142
  • E-mail:

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