Effective management of site variability has been shown to improve efficiency of chemical use, enhance of fruit quality, optimize irrigations and increase profits. Techniques for localizing and quantifying spatial variation through computer analysis of aerial imagery exist, but the detailed knowledge of soils, site history, and nutrition required for effective management of the variation often are not available in a readily accessible or timely fashion. As a consequence, the benefits of site-specific management have not been fully realized by horticultural managers. These limitations have been partially overcome by developing an information management system which integrates image analysis functions to identify crop stress, a geographic information system to relate stresses to resident and nonresident site factors, and custom spreadsheets that provide a cost/benefit analysis of various management decisions. The system allows a manager to visualize the probable impact of an intervention on variability, yield, and profits in a timely manner.
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