Steven T. is a cotton and peanut farmer who currently operates a 2,000-acre farm in Lubbock County, Texas. After acquiring a new 700-acre block of land, he discovered a yield-threatening cocklebur infestation using FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery. Here's his story:
How did you first notice a yield threat in your field?
It’s hard to see everything in my new fields, and even though I know where all the low spots are, it makes scouting difficult. In September, I got a new set of Crop Health Imagery in my FarmLogs account. When I looked at one of my field’s images, I thought, “Well, that spot shouldn’t be that dark green.” In a satellite image, cotton doesn’t look the same way that corn and soybeans look. It just doesn’t produce as much biomass, so you see a lot more in the imagery later in the season.
|Example of a cocklebur that Steven found on 3-5 acres of his field|
The spot was down on the south end where I don’t usually drive, and I couldn’t see it from the turn road. I walked down to that area of the field and found a huge patch of cockleburs that had sprouted on about 3-5 acres. I don’t know why it was just this one spot, maybe it got a rain shower on that end, but the patch of cockleburs was huge. They weren’t easy to spot from a distance, but they were big. So we got out there with a spray rig, sprayed it, and cleaned it up.
Steven's FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery: The first image in this series shows Steven’s field before the cocklebur infestation. In the middle image, you can see the dark green strip where Steven found the cockleburs. The left image shows the field after the cockleburs were sprayed.
What would have happened if you hadn’t caught this threat when you did?
The cockleburs would have shaded out the cotton at a time when it was filling bolls and it really needed the sunlight, and that would’ve hurt the yield. Cotton will make a lot of bolls, and then it will abort anywhere from 30% to 90% of the fruit it makes. If the cockelburs had gotten bigger and shaded out those plants, it might have aborted more fruit. We didn’t really have weeds anywhere because it had been hot and dry, so I wasn’t even thinking about there being a potential weed problem down there. It would have been really bad timing if I hadn’t caught them.
Without the Crop Health Imagery, I wouldn’t have known that the cockleburs were there until they were huge and choking out the cotton.
How do you use FarmLogs for your operation?
I pull up the FarmLogs app pretty often for different reasons, usually whenever I get a notification that there is new Crop Health Imagery, or to look back at the old imagery.
Mainly, I check it often to see how it could be used with my operation and compare what I see in the field to what I see in the imagery. It’s great to be able to get a one-shot, clear picture of the whole field at once—to see how my fields are coming along and to know that things are moving the way you think they are. There is a lot of new technology coming out, so, I try something new every year just to do what I can to cut costs and improve yields without having spend so much money.