Value of Data: Google Earth Supplements Yield Maps
After this fall’s harvest was over, I think many of us where looking forward to saying goodbye to 2012. We had mixed results this year on our farm, some better than expected, some worse. During the late summer/early fall scouting season, we were noticing some patterns in a part of the field, but from the ground it was hard to see the cause of the pattern.
In this section on either side of the waterway, we have some lime out croppings, where the limestone is relatively shallow (12-20”). What is best described as a stroke of luck, our friends at Google Earth (and the USDA for getting the picture) took a shot of this farm on October 2nd. You can see that the neighbors had harvested the bean field already, so getting this picture couldn’t have been timed any better.
We know from years past that we shouldn’t expect great yields in this section of the farm, particularly when it is dry. What I found fascinating was that there was a pattern where I suspect there are gaps between the limestone rock, and the corn roots were able to reach water later in the growing season. In a year like this each stress item is magnified you can see each of these areas perfectly in the resulting yield map. This can be useful when looking at field performance, and planning in the future, and perhaps explaining previous years lower yield, not obvious at the time.
"Field" 43.004136, -91.309583 Google Earth. USDA Farm Service Agency. Jan. 18, 2013