Value of Soil and Crop Sensing

Kurt LawtonAerial Imagery, Fertilizer, GPS, Remote sensing, Retailers, Satellite

As planters continue to roll across the Midwest, most farmers are thinking about what’s next. One component of precision farming you may want to try is the use of crop sensing. Why? Because this is the future that will help overcome field variability–from helping create optimum field management zones to monitoring crops so growers can take action before yield-robbing stress occurs.

One good overview of this science, published in 2003 by USDA-ARS scientists from across the country, will help you grasp the realties and benefits that can be achieved. And the technology has dramatically improved since this was written.

One independent agronomic guru who is a favorite of mine (and I’ve quoted many over the years in farm magazine articles) in Tom McGraw, owner of Midwest Independent Soil Samplers (MISS). Tom calls a spade a spade, and offers some excellent advice, which he gives in his newsletter, on their website, and especially to customers.

Bottom line is you should consider examining one field, perhaps your toughest most variable ground, to see what you can learn and improve upon with this sensing technology. Talk to your local retailer to understand their capabilities, or contact one of the four MISS locations.