Tech Tools Add Value Outside the Corn Belt
Determining which new ag technology tools can add value to crops outside of corn and soybeans is important to help optimize specialty crops. As someone who lives and works outside the Corn Belt, I have been evaluating new technology tools for the last few years to help address that issue. To examine the benefits of ag technology tools, I’ve been collaborating with farmers and local agronomists who help manage more than 200 different crops grown in the West in Greater Acre trials. Some of the crops I’ve looked at specifically include alfalfa, malt barley, spring wheat and potatoes.
Throughout my work with these tools in Greater Acre trials, I’ve identified a number of ways they can help optimize crop production and add value, the standout being in-season imagery.
In-Season Imagery Uses
In Greater Acre trials, we’ve focused on in-season imagery for zone tissue sampling and to validate product performance. In-season imagery helps you pick out crop growth differences that cannot be seen with the eye alone, pinpointing key parts of the field where tissue sampling would be most beneficial to protect yield potential.
In fungicide trials with alfalfa and malt barley, in-season imagery helped us spot crop development differences that weren’t previously detected. Guided by this imagery and yield data, the Profit Mapper in the R7® Tool helped show a measureable yield difference in treated and non-treated areas.
In 2015, I also conducted a trial with Ascend® plant growth regulators (PGRs); however, that season proved to be one of the worst drought years we have experienced in five years. Despite the lack of moisture, in-season imagery helped identify the areas treated with Ascend® PGRs. Before the combines rolled, we used the R7® Field Monitoring Tool to see the low level of total bio-mass that had been accumulated and to compare growth curves with past years. This tool also allowed us to look at rain and temperature graphs to measure the severity of 2015’s drought and heat levels.
Reap Season-Long Rewards
While the technology spotlight tends to focus on corn and soybeans, results from these and other trials show how new tools can add value to a wide variety of crops. With just a little extra management, your farmers can help their crops flourish and optimize yield potential on every acre.
Contact your local WinField ag technology specialist to learn more about Greater Acre trials. And for a case study on recent corn trials, read the last article on trials in Indiana written by my colleague, Jessica Irvine.
With corn and soybean prices continuing to lag, some farmers may add other crops into their rotations. Or if located outside of the Corn Belt, specialty crops may be the mainstay of their system.
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