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Improving Farm Efficiency with Crop Health Imagery

Excited about using new technology to improve the efficiency of your farm? Looking for ways to maximize output while minimizing input during lower commodity prices? Is there a way to pinpoint your scouting efforts and then take quick action to correct problems or deficiencies? FARMserver offers an exciting, easy to use solution to all of these questions called Crop Health Imaging (CHI).
Utilizing CHI is critical to protecting and increasing yield during a crop season. FARMserver provides the most comprehensive aerial imagery system available, offering high resolution (50 cm) images that deliver multiple views of the growing crop. It then allows you to utilize the FARMserver Scouting App to go to the areas of poorer crop health and determine what the challenge is and if anything can be done to correct it. 
Below we have detailed each of the different views offered by CHI:
  • Sky |The sky view is what your eyes would see from an airplane. In general, darker green colors represent healthier vegetation. This can vary based on plant type, density, soil background, shadow, and other influences.
  • Infrared |This image takes advantage of the strong infrared response of healthy vegetation. In general, darker red colors represent healthier vegetation. This can vary based on plant type, density, soil background, shadow, and other influences.
  • Health Index |This view is a crop health index which only uses the red and infrared information in the image. It is a relative index, from low to high vegetation only for the field in question. If images are collected near the same time, a farm index may be used to show relative differences across fields.
  • Soil Adjusted Health |The soil adjusted health view is very similar to the health index view, but also applies a soil adjustment factor, from low to high vegetation, only for the field in question. If images are collected near the same time, a farm index may be used to show relative differences across fields, but the adjustment factor may not be appropriate in highly variable soils.
  • Field Pattern View |This is a statistical view using all of the data in the image, not just the colors our eyes see, or the infrared information. The field pattern view looks for statistical similarities to create a number of classes. These classes can be dominated by many things such as tillage practice, crop type, hybrid changes, soil type, old fence rows, soil types, irrigation coverage, and many management practices. Field experience and good field scouting is often required to understand field patterns.
There are two key times when utilizing CHI proves to have the most benefit. Full canopy (when the crop closes the row) is the best time to find areas of stand loss and areas of nutrient deficiency. Visiting the field to ground truth is still needed to verify stand counts and diagnose those deficiencies. Full tassel is the best time use CHI for creating management zones or using the scouting app to do yield estimates. Farmers can also pinpoint late season disease scouting and potentially make fungicide applications if needed.
Powered by GeoVantage, CHI is easy to order and manage. Create an account at www.farmserver.com, input or draw your field boundaries, and then click “Place a Crop Health Image Order”. Images are $2.50 per acre per image for FARMserver premium members. For those using free or trial accounts, images will be $3.50 per acre per image. You can download the free FARMserver Scouting App to your iPad or iPhone to better utilize CHI in the field while ground truthing the many things that were revealed in your CHI results.
GeoVantage is the premier supplier of Agricultural Aerial Imagery. For more information on CHI or to see what we are doing to help farmers better utilize the on-farm data they collect to make decisions that turn into profit, head over to www.farmserver.com
-Brent Minett | Team Sales Agronomist 
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