In the early days of precision mapping the focus was on that yield map generated by the system in your combine. But these days, we can map anything, from spray passes to planting. The trick is to figure out how that layer of information plays out with your precision ag program.
First step is to get the map data from your planting system into your precision management - or mapping - program. You may be doing that yourself or have someone who does it for you, but the sooner the better. And in a year like this, where replant may be an issue, you're going to want to know what went where on those fields.
Once you have that data layer in your system, you can look to identify trouble spots - especially if you can look at weather for those fields. Areas hard hit by early post-plant rains may be subject to nitrogen leaching that could hit corn yields. That can guide some side- or top-dressing applications on those fields. And you'll also know where to take some counts later in the season to determine if replant will be hitting your bottom line.
Those as-planted maps can also give you an early heads up about any new varieties you planted. When checking fields - not from the road by the way - you'll have an easy reference showing what hybrids are where in your fields. Sure, you can remember a lot, but let the computer be your guide too. If you've planted a hot new hybrid you'll be able to spot it fast and determine just how hot it is.
And start planning on how that as-planted information will match up with yield data this fall. Your consultant or local agronomist can help you do some "decision mapping" for the next season as you get hit with pitches for new seed hybrids and varieties this fall.
The key is to get the data from tractor to computer soon so you know the quality of what you collected and can determine how best to use the information for the rest of this growing season and for planning into next. No matter what system you used, all collect valuable information that can help with future decision-making.
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