• Agriculture Technology
  • Oct 19, 2018

Use Tech to Evaluate Hayfields Now

Image of alfalfa field on R7 Tool
Once the last hayfield has been cleared, it’s time to start planning for next year’s alfalfa crop. Use these postharvest tips and take advantage of ag technology to help you accomplish this important end-of-season task.
Identify trends
The R7® Field Monitoring Tool allows you to determine which fields were top performers, which were just average and which fell behind. This valuable information can help you readily determine if there are fields you need to pull out of production next year and what practices to implement for even better yields in the fields you keep in rotation. In addition to physical inspection of every field, the Field Monitoring Tool features can help identify the reasons for subpar performance.
Take a stand count
Although alfalfa stands are often assessed in the spring, evaluating the stand in the fall is beneficial because it gives you time to implement changes. Alfalfa thins as it ages, so taking a stand count can help indicate yield potential.
Study each field’s history
The growth charts generated by the Field Monitoring Tool show how a field is performing now compared to past years. Even if a field looks strong compared to its neighbors, yields may be decreasing over time. This downward trend is an indicator that a particular field should be pulled from rotation for the next growing season.
Check growth patterns
Scan field images to look for areas of uneven biomass, a distinct indicator of low production. It’s common for high-production zones to pull nutrients from surrounding zones, making them less productive. Imagery can help guide your fall soil and tissue sampling so you can optimize fall nutrition needs by zone.
Leverage your expertise
Once you’ve reviewed all the information provided by the Field Monitoring Tool, you’ll want to consider the price of hay and the effect weather has had on your crops this past growing season. If hay prices are weak and all your crops are stressed because of tough weather, you may decide to pull a field that’s relatively young.
Pairing your boots-on-the-ground assessments with the data gleaned over the growing season from the Field Monitoring Tool puts you in the position to finish strong and get both a good start and an even better harvest next year. To learn more about how the Field Monitoring Tool can help get your 2019 crop off to a strong start, talk with your trusted advisor.
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