Focus Scouting Efforts With Ag Tech Tools
Spring and early summer are always busy for farmers. But 2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges that have made this time of year even more hectic. With so much to consider this year, scouting fields may become a lower priority. However, ag technology tools can help you target areas that need extra attention, saving you valuable time.
Biomass measurements can alert you to problems
A plant’s biomass is a good predictor of yield potential because plants that have more healthy green tissue can accumulate more carbohydrates to produce grain. The R7® Field Monitoring Tool tracks the vigor status of fields by measuring biomass. It uses normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) imagery to benchmark comparable fields based on the crop and when it was planted. As plants grow, some fields will accumulate more biomass and others less.
The R7 Field Monitoring Tool alerts you when a field’s vigor begins trending downward, but it doesn’t indicate what the exact problem is. It could be that poor plant stands or inadequate fertility are limiting biomass accumulation. Low-vigor trends could also be the result of insect and disease pressure in the field. Either way, when you notice a field that’s changing, it’s time to get out there for a closer look. The R7 Field Monitoring Tool helps focus your scouting efforts and is especially useful when your time is limited.
Take a deeper look at fields with in-season imagery
Often, disease and insect pressure isn’t consistent across a field. Just because the first few rows at the front of your field look clean doesn’t mean there aren’t pest pressures in other areas. The R7 Field Monitoring Tool can give you a larger-scale overview of field health, but combining it with in-season imagery allows you to get more granular and look at specific areas within a field. You can also employ drones to get a better look at areas that may be difficult to physically get to.
Use ag tech to keep a scouting history
One beneficial feature of the R7 Tool is the ability to drop a pin to document a location in your field and add notes or a photo. For example, if you see that disease is causing problems, you can take a photo and drop a pin at the location. Then you can easily send the information to your agronomist for further evaluation. Being able to pin problem areas also helps you build an archive of trouble spots that you can refer back to as you’re planning insect and disease programs in the future.
Staying ahead of insect and disease pressure requires a proactive scouting approach. Technology tools are an economical and efficient way to support your efforts. For more information, talk with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2019 and was last updated in July 2020.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.
Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results.
© 2020 WinField United. R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.
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