How Analyzing Multiple Samples in the Same Field Can Help Farmers Identify Patterns and Trends to Maximize Returns
Gone are the days when a single soil sample is used to determine the input needs of a field. It is now widely understood that the soil and requirements of a field can vary significantly across its total area. With the advent of GPS technologies on farms and a greater understanding of soil and the variability of its conditions, new management practices such as grid sampling and zone management have emerged in recent years. These practices allow farmers to gather data from multiple soil samples across a field, providing a more accurate picture of the field's soil conditions and input needs as a whole. So why not apply the same methodology to plant tissue samples?
In this post, we will discuss how analyzing plant tissue samples from multiple locations within a field can provide valuable insights that can help farmers improve crop yield. Like grid sampling and zone management, which have revolutionized soil analysis, taking multiple plant tissue samples from different parts of a field can help farmers identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent when analyzing bulk plant tissue data on its own.
Analyzing plant tissue at multiple locations within a field can provide valuable information to help farmers improve crop yield. By gathering data from numerous plant tissue samples across one field, growers can more accurately assess the picture of their crops' health and nutrient status in their field as a whole. That can help them make more informed decisions about input needs and how to manage them.
The easiest way to get that picture is by taking two or more plant tissue samples from different locations within the field and using Picketa Systems' LENS to analyze them. With this system, each sample is geo-tagged, allowing for the creation of nutrient colormaps that provide a visual representation of the health and nutrient status of plants across the field. These colormaps can help farmers identify areas lacking in nutrients or experiencing stress, which can inform their management decisions, such as applying fertilizers or adjusting irrigation practices. Additionally, we continuously see the advancement in farming equipment. We all know the time for variable rate application of nutrients or irrigation is approaching fast. Detailed geo-located data is needed to create prescription maps to help maximize the return on investment on such equipment. Geo-located plant tissue samples can also be useful for ground truthing data from remote sensing devices, such as NDVI from drones or satellites, and can even enhance the data collected from such devices. Therefore, collecting multiple plant tissue samples in a field has various potential applications today.
Colormaps can be particularly useful for identifying patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent when analyzing plant tissue data on its own. For example, a colormap may reveal that plants in a particular section of a field are experiencing stress due to a lack of nitrogen supply or water. In contrast, it may show that plants in other parts of the field are healthy and thriving.
The images below demonstrate the real-life application of colormaps in understanding the distribution of nutrients within a specific field. During a routine sampling, a deficiency of zinc was identified in the field as depicted in the first image (left). After consulting with an agronomist, the grower applied a zinc product. The second image (right), taken a few days post-application, illustrates the successful uptake of zinc in most part of the field, with either a targeted second application suggested for a bottom portion of the field or further investigation to understand the condition of the plants in that area.
In addition to helping farmers identify areas of their field that may need attention, colormaps can also be used to track the progress of a field over time. By leveraging data visualization, growers can better understand their fields' specific growing conditions, helping them fine-tune their operations and reduce their reliance on nutrient inputs from fertilizers. By analyzing plant tissue data at regular intervals, growers can monitor the health of their land and make adjustments as needed, becoming more informed stewards of the land they farm and ultimately reducing their environmental impact.
The LENS simplifies the process of collecting and analyzing plant tissue samples by eliminating the need to send them to a laboratory for analysis. This allows agronomists to analyze ten times as many samples in a season. With the time saved, it's worth considering taking multiple samples from each field and targeting different areas based on previous yields or soil conditions. This approach can help save money in the long run and provide a deeper understanding of plant nutrient uptake.
To learn more about using colormaps to assess your plants' nutrients and improve crop yield, consider checking out our tutorial video at 4:30 or other online resources. Get the invaluable information necessary for making the right decisions presented to you the right way by using the Picketa Systems web platform and LENS TM. For more information, visit our website or contact us to book a demo.