Software gets most out of yield maps
A farmers son is using new computer software to help growers translate yield maps into successful management practices.
Herts-based Martin Dingemans believes about 250 farmers use yield mapping, but few tackle variable applications. "Many farmers do not want to spend time in front of a computer investigating the data effectively."
The biggest problem is having recording software, but not the management software to back it up, he maintains. To get round that he is using Farmades new Amais mapping program, which can interrogate field maps and financial data to produce true gross margins figures for different areas within a field.
Working as a consultant, Mr Dingemans spends two days sorting through a farmers data, examining it through the software and visiting fields. "It helps to work with the farmers agronomist to get to know the land, soil, contours and seed-beds. Then the stories behind the yields begin to unfold.
"Many growers want to know what precision machinery they need. They can then target input costs and have the ultimate in traceability."
He has seen the potential on his father Johns farm at Rushden, Herts, where precision farming has helped cut fertiliser use, raise yields in poor performing areas and reduce seed rates.
John has tested most leading software packages and found a flexible, fast and informative combination. "Yields and tramlines are viewed through RDS software. This can then be examined and interrogated through Amais. It is possible to have reports on individual tramlines, giving costings and gross margins. I used to export yield data to a spreadsheet which was both long-winded and time consuming," he says.
Gus Murchie, who farms near Luton, Beds, has equipment and software for soil and yield mapping, but passes the results to Mr Dingemans for advice.
Two important discoveries have been made. Fertile valleys produce the same yield with half his usual amount of nitrogen, and the yield gain from rabbit fencing would more than cover the cost within a year.
Mr Murchie is particularly keen to investigate environmental benefits in future. *
• Many farms with yields maps.
• Relatively few adjust inputs.
• New interrogating software.
• Wide range of savings on offer.
Martin Dingemans interrogates precision farming data in the field to find the stories behind the yield maps, so husbandry can be adjusted accordingly.
Dont miss Precision Farming 2000 for all the latest news, views, products and advice from this fast moving sector. Taking place on Wed 8 Mar at the Newark Showground, Notts, just off the A1, the event is organised by Fusion Events in association with farmers weekly. In addition to exhibits from all the key companies and institutes involved in the technology there will be a rolling programme of seminars with ample opportunity for questions. Tickets are £5 on the day or free if booked in advance with Fusion Events (01539-734725; fax 01539-740485; e-mail tickets@ fusionevents.freeserve.co.uk)