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Drive Crop Input Efficiency & Accuracy with the R7® Field Monitoring Tool

Mar 25, 2020

The Field Monitoring Tool allows a grower to see if a field is trending up or down.
Aside from hiring a small army to roam your acres in search of nutrient deficiencies or pressure from weeds, insects or disease, growers used to lack an effective way to scout their fields. Thanks to satellite imagery analyzing platforms like the R7® Field Monitoring tool, producers can now pinpoint specific fields of concern before ever stepping foot in their fields.
 
The Field Monitoring tool analyzes low-resolution satellite imagery on a daily basis to measure biomass accumulation. Powered through a trend status, it can calculate changes from the last image collected to the most recent, mapping out high-level insights that show users how their crop is progressing.
 
The Field Monitoring tool benchmarks fields of the same crop that were planted within five days of each other and identifies the outliers to help growers focus their scouting and application efforts. Each enrolled field is assigned a color that identifies whether there is high biomass accumulation (black), average accumulation (white) or low accumulation (red). This allows a grower to identify and manage the potential of the field throughout the season to gain maximum ROI on a field to field basis. 
 
Time management is often a pain point in-season simply due to the nature of the business. Field Monitoring tool can help to mitigate these issues when mother natures doesn’t cooperate. For example, let’s say you must apply a crop input within 24 to 48 hours because rainfall is forecasted, and you have 30 fields to scout. The Field Monitoring tool shows you exactly what fields to focus your scouting efforts in so you can determine whether inputs are needed or not in the timeframe allowed. 
 
There are three important times during the growing season that I encourage producers to use the Field Monitoring tool: early season, mid-season, and harvest. Here’s how the platform can help during each of these phases.
 
Early Season
Using the Field Monitoring Tool in the weeks following emergence will help you set the tone for the entire growing season. By identifying problem areas early on, you can get a feel for the potential each field has and make an educated decision about where to focus your crop nutrition and protection applications. Some problems like nutrient deficiencies or weed pressure can be corrected. Others, like soil compaction or uneven emergence, are problems you will see for the rest of the season.
 
  • Black: At this point in the season, above average biomass accumulation can be good or bad. These fields could either have a really good stand due to ideal planting and fertility conditions, or a significant amount of weed pressure. So, you’ll want to put boots on the ground in these locations to determine whether they’re suited for high management levels or herbicide applications.
  • White: White-shaded areas in a field indicate that crop development is progressing well, with stand counts within 90 percent of your target range. This is typically a sign that you achieved ideal planting depth and roots are developing as they should.
  • Red: Fields with less than average accumulated biomass fall into the red category. This lack of stand development could be due to uneven emergence, inadequate fertility or planting conditions. Scouting these areas on foot will help you determine whether or not crop input applications can provide an adequate return on your investment. You might find that these fields are prime for variable rate applications to help optimize yield potential on the acres that have the most promise. Or, in extreme cases, they could be candidates for replant.
 
Mid-Season
At this point in the growing season, it’s all about protecting the yield potential you’ve developed so far. The Field Monitoring tool helps you do that by identifying where to push for high yield potential, and where to lay off.
 
  • Black: By mid-season, your fields with the most biomass accumulation have the highest yield potential. This is where you should take plant tissue samples to determine if late-season nitrogen (N) and/or micronutrient applications could be beneficial. They might also be ideal locations for fungicide applications, especially on hybrids that have a high Response to Fungicide (RTF) score.
  • White: These areas of the field are your status quo. When prioritizing where to make nutrient and crop protection treatments, they should rank a close second to the black-shaded areas.
  • Red: As your lower-performing acres, these might be the same spots that were shaded red in early season imagery, or they could be areas impacted by Mother Nature events. Whether caused by poor planting conditions, flooding, hail, wind, disease or insect pressure, you might find these fields to provide minimal economic return on crop inputs applied here.
 
Harvest
Finally, the Field Monitoring tool can help you finish strong by helping you prioritize your harvest schedule. By this time, the colors assigned to different fields are based on moisture content, so they aren’t a direct correlation to yield potential.
 
Our red-shaded fields are usually a little drier than the white, and white usually more so than black. For example, when the red areas have a moisture content of 20 to 22 percent, the white might be around 25 to 27 percent and the black at 30 percent or more. Harvesting the red acres first will give the white and black areas more time to dry down in the field, which could help you save money on drying costs.
 
While producers who farm several thousand acres or across a wide geography may realize the biggest benefit from using the Field Monitoring tool, any grower who struggles to get across their acres when scouting will realize improved time management and overall efficiency by utilizing the platform in their crop management efforts.
 
To integrate the R7® Field Monitoring tool on your farm, reach out to your local GreenPoint AG Technology Specialist. They’ll get you up and running in no time.
 

This article was written by Mason Ross, Digital Technology Manager. You can reach him at mmross@landolakes.com.
 


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