Not much has changed in northern Indiana no-till since my last message, but at least the snow seems to have stopped. That being said, the cold-wet weather has continued to keep us out of the field. For those who are optimistic and want to avoid a prevent-plant situation, try to employ AirScout imagery. We can do this by creating zones in the field that are dry enough to be planted, and others that are not. You can also use the imagery to build a good case as to why those areas had to be abandoned this year. The imagery will also make it clear exactly how many acres were planted, and how many acres are being claimed for insurance. Remember, you don’t need to make the plant/no-plant decision based on entire fields. It’s your option to plant some areas and abandon others, so I encourage you to talk with your insurance agent about your particular situation. We need to be extremely smart about this, and do what is both economically and morally correct. Our livelihoods depend on it!
Image above: Avoid cold/wet areas represented in the thermal picture by purple and blue. Only plant warm/dry areas represented by green, yellow, and red.
Here is that same field broken into zones using the AirScout prescription tool. By planting the green, yellow, and red zones, we will cover 60% of the field and avoid the remaining 40% which could possibly be claimed as prevented planting if conditions don’t improve.
For those of you fortunate enough to have already planted, you can use this same thermal imagery to scout for emergence and re-plant requirements. Just navigate to the cold/wet areas and see if you have a stand in the worst places. If it is good there, the remainder of the field is probably better.
Hopefully this gives you some more ideas as to how you can use your imagery to manage risk. Remember, this can only be done using thermal imagery, as all the other bands such as NDVI are not representative of temperature or moisture. Please feel free to reach out if you need help with any of this. As I said, each region is slightly different, so please do this in cooperation with your crop insurance agent. I know this is a situation none of us farmers want to be in, but I do believe this is both an ethical, and economical, solution to our problem at hand.
Thanks again for your time, and best wishes for some warm and dry weather!