How One Minnesota Farmer Discovered Three Yield Threats with FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery

May 09, 2017

Mitch Field operates an 800 acre family farm in Erhard, Minnesota where he grows corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. Last season, he detected three different yield threats from FarmLogs Crop Health Alerts and through monitoring his FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery.

 

Mitch Field on his farm in Minnesota
Mitch Field on his farm in Minnesota

 

Using imagery to plan for next year

Mitch first started using FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery to monitoring the growth of his crops to see how they progressed throughout the season. His farm is located in a hilly area of Minnesota, and he was curious if he would find any differences in his crop’s growth based on their location in his fields.

One day, after a week of heavy torrential downpours, Mitch received a Crop Health Alert on his iPhone for one of his soybean fields. When he went out to scout the area located in the alert he found a small area in the field where the rain had washed out his soybean plants.

Mitch knew that the field’s location made it a risk for washouts, but it had been difficult for him to determine where they might occur because the field had been planted with alfalfa in the previous year.

“We always try to leave waterways in our fields since they’re in a valley, so they don't get washouts. Now that we have FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery, we can see which areas we should leave grass waterways in so that we don't get washouts in the future.”
Crop Health Imagery in Mitch's FarmLogs Account
Crop Health Imagery in Mitch's FarmLogs Account

 

Mitch also uses this information to determine what parts of his fields need to be tiled. The imagery helps him identify where variation is occurring in his fields:

“You can see the variation on the Crop Health Imagery where some crops are getting drowned out. Water never sits there, but you can see in the imagery that it's been saturated long enough where it's affecting the plant.”

Timing alfalfa harvests

Last season, dry weather conditions in June left Mitch wondering when he should harvest his alfalfa. When he checked his Crop Health Imagery in the end of June, he noticed that a hilltop area on one of his alfalfa fields looked irregular based on the previous images he had received for that field earlier in the season.

 

Field Data Explorer showing Mitch's Crop Health Imagery in his FarmLogs account
Field Data Explorer showing Mitch's Crop Health Imagery in his FarmLogs account

 

When Mitch went out to scout the area, he discovered that the alfalfa on the hilltop had started to shrink and decided to harvest in order to lessen the negative impact the shrinking alfalfa could have on his yields.

“We ended up getting more tons per acre off of that field, thanks to deciding to cut it earlier. Once Alfalfa gets dry it will actually start absorbing the plant back into the ground and put it into the root, so it’s helpful to have FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery to be able to monitor it throughout the season.”

Detecting weeds in corn

Mitch also uses his Crop Health Imagery to monitor the growth of his corn throughout the season. Last season, when his corn started drying in the fall, he noticed a straight line in his imagery that was showing higher vegetation than the rest of his field.

When Mitch went out to harvest, he payed close attention to this section of the field and discovered a patch of grass growing underneath his corn crop in the same area where he’d stopped spraying Atrazine on the field. He said that he hadn’t been able to scout this corner of the field very well during the season because it was difficult to reach and was surrounded by trees.

 

Crop Health imagery showing the grassy area that Mitch discovered in his corn field
Crop Health imagery showing the grassy area that Mitch discovered in his corn field

 

When Mitch went out to harvest, he payed close attention to this section of the field and discovered a patch of grass growing underneath his corn crop in the same area where he’d stopped spraying Atrazine on the field. He said that he hadn’t been able to scout this corner of the field very well during the season because it was difficult to reach and was surrounded by trees.

“If you can see strips and streaks in the field in your satellite imagery, it’s helpful to know that something is wrong and see if you can optimize your applications from that. If we’ve seen it in the imagery, we now know for next year that we've got to do a better job in that spot to make sure we get a good weed kill on it.”

 

You can read more about Mitch's farm and how he uses FarmLogs to manage his operation in our blog post, From Our Farmers: Mitch Field »

 

 

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Rachel Nizinski, Marketing Coordinator

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Rachel Nizinski, Marketing Coordinator