• Agriculture Technology

What Can Biomass Tell You About Your Crop’s Health?

Two men in early-season field reviewing tablet
Field scouting usually begins even before any equipment hits the field and continues until the last crop is harvested. You invest a lot of time checking on your crops to stay ahead of potential challenges that could threaten yield. Adding technology tools can help improve scouting efficiency by measuring a plant’s biomass accumulation to compare plant health across fields.

Biomass is the basis of measurement

A plant’s biomass is generally a good predictor of yield potential. Plants that have more healthy, green tissue can accumulate more carbohydrates to produce grain. Biomass values are determined by multispectral satellites that record how much light is reflected by crops and how much is absorbed. More light interception from solar radiation wavelengths translate into higher biomass values, indicating a more healthy, vigorous crop.

One tool. Season-long insights.

The Field Monitoring Tool captures biomass values throughout the season, which can help you more efficiently target trouble areas that may require further evaluation. It uses satellite imagery along with a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) algorithm to compare biomass trends in fields.
  • Early season — Early in the season, the Field Monitoring Tool can be used to help identify fields that may have heavy weed pressure. If biomass values are high before your crop is planted or has emerged, you can most likely attribute that to early-germinating weeds that could make planting more difficult and limit vigorous crop emergence.
  • Mid-season — As crop growth begins, you can use the Field Monitoring Tool to help identify fields that may be stressed by environmental conditions or biological pests, including diseases and insects. When you compare the biomass trends of your fields, you can easily see which fields may have problems and target them for further scouting.
  • Late-season — When crops mature, the Field Monitoring Tool can help you start estimating yield by comparing the current crop’s biomass index to biomass indices of crops in previous years. Using historical biomass information, you can also get a good understanding of how your crop is maturing compared to previous years. That knowledge can help you start planning the logistics of your harvest schedule.
When you compare trend lines in the Field Monitoring Tool, you can target fields that may need further analysis, such as soil or tissue sampling, to mitigate problems before yield is lost. The tool can help you manage your scouting efforts at every stage of crop management.
For more information about using the Field Monitoring Tool to direct scouting efforts, talk with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer.
© 2019 WinField United. WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.