TerrAvion NDVI imagery, a crop health index image, will tell you how healthy or stressed your crop is based on plant vigor and chlorophyll levels. This information, collected at key points throughout the season, can be used to assess how a crop performs over time, and how various inputs and factors are contributing to that performance. Using imagery to supplement yield data can tell you the story of how individual inputs performed throughout a season.
When you think of evaluating crop performance, you probably think about the result: the yield data. Yes, yield results are generally what matter most on any farm, but when it comes to evaluating input performances, yield data doesn't tell the whole story. Information about how a crop performed throughout the entire season, through various growing conditions, and through events that altered growing conditions, can tell you a lot about that crop and all the inputs used to produce it. Imagery provides you with a visual diary of a crop throughout an entire season. You can see which fields or plots reacted more favorable to drought, storms, pest or disease pressure, etc. Subscription imagery can be used to verify or disprove presumptions you've made based on your yield results to avoid making significant decisions based on false premises. High-resolution NDVI imagery provides the detail necessary to assess the performance of small-scale test plots, information that might not be as readily observed in yield data.
The image to the right shows a field that has two fungicide test strips running horizontally and three seed test strips running vertically. NDVI imagery of the field shows that the top fungicide strip appears to be outperforming the lower strip, and the center hybrid plot appears to be outperforming the other plots to either side. The top middle plot, which received the better performing fungicide and was planted with the best performing hybrid is clearly outperforming the rest of the field. This information can help validate agronomist recommendations, and providing visual proof input performance can help retailers sell more inputs. If yield data shows you the results for your crop, imagery tells you the story of what happened along the way.
While TerrAvion color and infrared imagery are valuable tools for monitoring crop health, TerrAvion NDVI imagery, at a resolution of 10-17 cm/pixel, is one of the best-suited imagery products on the market for monitoring and evaluating crop performance. But how do TerrAvion customers use imagery to assess product performance? In the TerrAvion OverView web app, there is a tool that allows users to draw zones in their imagery. Selecting a zone will provide the user with information about the selected area. If a shape is drawn around a test plot, field, or any other area, the feature will produce an NDVI histogram and average NDVI value for the NDVI data in that zone. This information can be compared to information from other zones to determine which area is performing best at the time the imagery was captured. Users need to consider factors such as growing conditions and other variables, in addition to all other available information and farm data to see the full story of how a crop and individual inputs performed throughout the season, and why.
The example above shows two nitrogen test plots. The plot that received more nitrogen has a lower average NDVI, which could indicate that a lower application rate of nitrogen for this crop may return better results than a higher rate application.
Making decisions on what inputs to use on your farm can have significant financial implications. Understanding how a product performed throughout a season, through various conditions and events, can be the information you need to support profitable input decisions and to avoid detrimental ones.
For more information regarding TerrAvion Aerial Imagery, contact MidPlains Ag Services today!
(Blog used with permission from Terravion https://blog.terravion.com/blog/use-case-input-performance-evaluation)