MapIT Pro data manager

Article taken from the Agronomist & Arable Farmer Summer 2015

MapIT Pro data manager will be launched ahead of the 2016 cropping season, part of the Agrovista Axis software, this pioneering web-based software will allow many pieces of the Precision Farming jigsaw to finally fall into place.

As the 2015 crops are harvested and yield maps produced, already thoughts may be turning to establishment of the next crop.  Variable rate drilling plans can be very farm specific and there cannot be one rule fits all; farmer and agronomist knowledge sit equally alongside datasets to provide the best prescriptions.

One area that we have been looking at for a number of years is the collection of regular biomass data from the growing crop and using this to make field zones.  We have been taking data up to eight times through the growing season with a Fritzmeier Isaria crop sensor to build up a picture from establishment right through to early yield prediction at ear emergence.

Once any known variance factors have been accounted for – slug damage, frost heave etc – we can then use the earliest and latest scan to set up two maps, a yield potential and a variable seed plan.

The MapIT Pro data manager allows the user to create these maps more simply than ever before.  The Plantsystems precision division of Agrovista has developed it from scratch to be the most user-friendly tool on the market.

To make a seed map the user can either choose to use an existing layer of data such as conductivity, yield map, or biomass map, and the programme will then turn these into zoned maps at the press of a button.  All the user then needs to do is to add rates to each zone and press download.

Another option is to start with a blank field boundary and draw seed zones manually.  There are a number of simple tools that act essentially like crayons to split up your own fields and save the zones.

Another innovative feature is to combine both these options to use a data set and draw over the top of the auto generated zones, for example simply drawing a 25m headland in as a zone to get a different rate.  Once happy with the zones and plans, these are then saved as a layer on the map which can be brought in and out of view with a simple slider bar.

Year and category

Each piece of data is stored within a year and category so can easily be found as more and more data is added to the system.  In a year’s time the same zone layer can be selected and modified based on plant counts and biomass scans of the crop after the seeding plan had been applied.  So how will we know if all these finely tuned input adjustments are delivering a benefit to the bottom line?

Looking a bit further down the development path of MapIT Pro is the data assessment tool.  With any variable input it will become useful to build in check strips which are essentially areas to compare the rate adjustments.  In a variable drilling plan this would be a strip across part of the field where sequential rate changes are made, 150, 175, 200kg/ha.  Once the yield data is collected and uploaded this will be assessed in the programme to see where the best return on investment (ROS) has been made and form the basis of decisions in selecting the optimum seed rate for the next crop or when that crop is next in the field.

This data assessment tool is currently under development.  When released commercially it will allow decision-making for the following crop to be more accurate.  The more data you put in, such as expected grain price, diesel cost, seed cost, will allow the system to work out where the optimum ROI will be made.  Come and see it on the Agrovista stand in the technology aisle at Cereals.

 

04 June 2015

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