When I started with Crop Quest in 2010, the term site specific crop management or precision ag was only meant for the producers who were on the cutting edge of technology. In just this short amount of time the meaning of this term has changed tremendously.
Now site specific crop management encompasses a wide variety of tools, and is utilized by most agricultural producers. When talking about or using site specific tools, the first step is to achieve some sort of base layer or a starting point to base all recommendations. We typically start with management zones that combine similar areas of the field together. This can be as simple as identifying the high, low, and average production areas of the field. This starts with using the information that you have collected on the field over the years.
Many times this will be a soil texture map that is collected with a Veris unit. An EC layer, or electrical conductivity layer mimics soil productivity of a field. Sometimes this can be three to five good years of yield data averaged together (normalized yield). These layers allow for an accurate starting point for variable rate applications. These management zones can then be tweaked and changed over time as the need arises. These layers work easily and seamlessly with variable rate seeding, irrigation, and fertilizer.
Technology is ingrained in everything we do in today’s urban society. Farming and agriculture is no different, and most of our newer equipment is able to read and apply Variable Rate prescriptions. It is more important than ever, now that crop prices are low, to make sure we place production inputs where they are needed and with proper timing, to maximize profits. In a short amount of time, farming has changed exponentially and it would most likely blow the minds of those generations before us. It will be crucial to utilize all these tools to stay afloat in the hard times ahead.
If we are not continually changing, then we are in the past.
Your Crop Quest Agronomist and our team of professionals are ready, willing and able to assist you as you deal with these changes. For more Give us a call today to learn more about site specific crop management services!
Written by: Kevin Hecht; Ulysses, KS