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Get up close with new crop mapping tool

A new weather utility can now give you a bird's-eye view of what's happening to your specific area's corn crop on a much more detailed level than ever before.

The Climate Corporation has rolled out a crop progress mapping tool that shows the development of the corn crop, from planting to the R2 growth stage. The Estimated Corn Growth Stage Progression tool shows, for example, that the lion's share of the corn from the eastern Corn Belt to the Dakotas was planted between about May 5 and 18.

The tool includes video progressions for not just the Midwest in general, but key individual states like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and others. And the level of detail on The Climate Corporation's new tool is what sets it apart from similar offerings from USDA and other crop-watchers, says The Climate Corporation's director of agronomic research Jeff Hamlin, especially in how it provides detailed weather data during critical times in the growing season, like right now.

Corn Belt field-level estimated corn growth stage progression: March 20, 2013 to July 3, 2013 from TheClimateCorporation on Vimeo.

"We combined data from our planting date model and our corn phenology model to create estimates of corn crop maturity at 15 individual fields in every Corn Belt county that is a major corn producer. The result is a visualization that allows you to see intra-state variations in estimated crop maturity," Hamlin says. "These field level estimates give a view into crop maturity that is far more granular than anything else available, and will be very useful in estimating the harm that any heat waves might be doing as we approach pollination. By matching up temperature maps to these maturity maps, you can see where heat is and is not doing damage  because the corn is or is not at the R1 stage of growth where the heat really impacts yields."

The new tool's more granular analysis of crop development provides a look at crop conditions that a wider, state-level glance can't, Hamlin says. This year's a good example, as it shows some pretty sharp differences in development and conditions within the same state.

"This analysis shows estimated intra-state variations in maturity, including details such as northwest Iowa significantly lagging north-central Iowa, small areas of west-central Illinois only at V6 while just a county or two over, crop is at V12 or V14, etc.," he adds.

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