Once the busy harvest season winds down, many of us reflect on those spots that stuck out in each field. Maybe it was a spot that yielded 80+ on soybeans or 250+ on corn, or maybe it sticks out for the opposite reason.
Variability on your farm influences the decisions you make throughout the rest of the year. We consider two types of variability — spatial and temporal — in precision ag.
Spatial variability refers to different patterns in an area or space. This is influenced by physical things that don’t change quickly, such as soil type, texture, structure, depth of topsoil and organic matter. These physical soil properties are directly related to the chemical properties of your soil, including water holding capacity, nutrient availability and buffer capacity. All of them impact yield potential.
Temporal variability in a field refers to the patterns between growth stages and/or seasons. One way this variability is evident is how a hybrid or variety responds to environmental stress. We all have areas within our fields that yield poorly one year and then produce top yields the following year. This is a combination of the underlying soil properties and how the hybrids/varieties respond to environmental conditions. No two seasons are alike!
We understand that no two fields are alike either. Latham’s hallmark FieldXField™ crop planning process helps you choose the right product for each field. As an agronomist, I think of G x E x M why picking products on a field-by-field basis is the #1 thing you can do to set yourself up for the best yield potential.
Temporal and spatial variability are key to understanding whether the yield variability in our field is consistent or inconsistent. Once you know how to categorize those areas, then you can put a variable rate program to work on your farm.
This year we’re piloting the Seed-2-Soil® Advanced Program, which uses several years of yield data alongside soil, imagery, your personal input, and any other available data layers to determine how to treat each of those areas. The power is in the multiple years of yield history. Even if you don’t have several years of yield data, there is still a lot of data we can use to create these areas within each field.
If you have fields that you know would benefit from variable rate management, feel free to call me and we can discuss different options. If you’re thinking about incorporating some precision services on your farm, I would be happy to have that discussion, as well.