Technological advances for turfgrass management a focus of University of Arkansas faculty member

Drones and GPS technology are some of the emerging tools in the treatment of turfgrass diseases, and Wendell Hutchens hopes to find the best uses for these technologies in his new role with the turfgrass research program at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

In August, Hutchens joined the experiment station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. He will teach courses through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the U of A and conduct outreach work through the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service.

In the coming years, Hutchens will begin projects to develop pest maps using drone imagery. It will expand on what he studied while earning his doctoral degree at Virginia Tech University. Pest maps can be used with GPS-guided autonomous sprayers. An operator drives the sprayer while the onboard computer tells the nozzles to spray in places indicated by the map.

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