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Are you a "field doctor"?

by Apr 13, 2010SMS™ Software

Planting season has arrived.  Time to implement all the things you learned last year into your operation for the 2010 growing season.

If there is one thing I learned while growing up on a farm, it's that a farmer's job changes every day.  As an owner and/or operator, farmers are tasked with jobs ranging from electrician to mechanic to machinery operator and the list goes on and on; but how many of us would have thought to consider adding “field doctor” to this list?

Just like a doctor prescribes the amount and type of medicine to a patient, you have the ability to prescribe products and rates to the field.  The difference here is that the doctor doesn't have variable rate technology on his side.  Unlike the doctor at the clinic who only gets to choose one dosage to give his patient, you have the ability to choose multiple rates to apply within the same field.  This can be accomplished with any product type: seed, liquid or dry fertilizer, or a chemical.  Precision farming desktop software gives you the ability to reference one or more maps to create variable-rate prescriptions.  Examples of maps that can be referenced are:

  • Yield data (one or more years, or a layer with multiple years averaged together)
  • Soil test results
  • Soil type
  • Hand-drawn management zones
  • Irrigated vs. dryland zones
  • Vegetative index data base on imagery or crop sensors

By creating variable-rate prescriptions and using a display that is capable of controlling the rate of application, you have the ability to apply more inputs in the ares of the field that are going to give you a higher rate of return and less in ares that do not.  Prescriptions can also be used to ensure no product is applied where there may be environmental concerns, such as spraying certain chemicals near a river bank.  If creating prescriptions is a new concept for you, you can also use your software to create check strips in small areas of the field.

Prescription map featuring

After harvest is done, you can then query the information to find out if that is something you want try on a larger scale next year.

Check out the video below to learn how to become a “field doctor” using SMS Software.