Often times we use the rhetorical question, “where do I start?” when beginning a conversation on a topic with so many inputs that it’s hard to prioritize what is the most important. When talking about this growing season and its challenges, this might be an appropriate opener. From the floods in Nebraska early this spring, to the drought, windstorms, and disease throughout the rest of the corn belt, it might be hard to pick a beginning. That being said, “where do I start?” is now a literal question as we are all needing to begin harvest very soon, but the crop does not look to be cooperating.
This is another example of how you can use your imagery to figure out where to point the combine first. Because this season has presented so many challenges, and many fields needed replanting in spots, we are gong to see extreme variability. The good news is that it is very easy to see this in nearly any image type. Once again, always start with your high-resolution visual image and use the others to confirm what you are seeing. Also, scroll back in time to see when certain areas began to dry down so you can understand WHY. Was it self-induced through nitrogen deficiency? If so, you will see those same areas yellowing way back in July or August. This is very prevalent in 2019 due to the extremely wet spring. I wish I could take every farmer in America up for a five minute plane ride to drive this point across! Although many things this year were beyond our control, nitrogen deficiency squarely rests on our shoulders.
Soybeans full senescence Soybeans early senescence Corn early senescence
In this single high-resolution visual image, it is easy to see where harvest is imminent, and where the least mature areas are in each field that need scouted before using the combine.
Yellow areas indicate nitrogen deficiency early in the growing season. Visual image taken mid-summer.
Same areas as in corresponding picture above but taken late season. Image shows premature senescence due to lack of nitrogen.
The senescence pictures coming your way now may be some of your most valuable with regard to learning and correcting for the coming years. They are truly your report card and need to be evaluated carefully. By observing how and when each part of your field matures, and correlating those areas with spots that developed earlier in the growing season, you will be better able to understand WHY your yield map looks the way it does. Without this due diligence, we’d be destined to repeat our mistakes for years to come.
I also want to share with you another crop survey we did for AgMarket.Net that can be found here. We travelled approximately 7500 miles zig-zagging up and down across the corn belt and took pictures approximately every 20 miles. From that link, you can click on any spot to see the field for yourself. Hopefully you will find this enlightening and let you see outside of your backyard as you continue to refine your marketing strategy.
As we head into harvest and start to think about 2020, please keep in mind everything you have learned from your imagery this year. Over the winter, I will put together more training materials that will further guide you as you put your imagery to work.
Please let me know if you think these email tutorials have been helpful, or if you have other topics you would like me to cover. Thanks again for spending time with me, and good luck with harvest.