You are on page 1of 6

Proposal - Implementation of Agriculture by Management

Zones

Table of Contents
Introduction.....................................................................................................................................1
Description of the process and scope of services...........................................................................2
The Process................................................................................................................................2
Base Map....................................................................................................................................3
Productivity maps by field............................................................................................................3
Ground truthing and characterization of management zones ....................................................4
Variable rate prescription and applications, yield mapping, and post season analysis ...............5
Summary of services provided........................................................................................................5

Introduction

Agriculture by Management zones focuses on differential management of zones with different


yields potential, optimizing the use of inputs and maximizing yields. To illustrate the concept,
these are some examples of how management can be optimized, by an adequate
identification of management zones1:
• Areas with consistent high yields over the years are typically backslope areas that
have adequate soil moisture but are not prone to flooding. Producers may wish to
increase inputs in these areas, as agronomists report that nutrient depletion often
occurs in areas of consistently high production.
• Areas with consistent low yields are typically summit or shoulder positions with limited
soil moisture. These areas may also be eroded with low organic matter contents and
limited production capabilities. Producers may wish to cut back inputs in these areas
to increase efficiency
GeoAgro brings a comprehensive, practical, and cost-effective approach to implementing
agriculture by management zones. Understanding the implementation process as a
continuous cycle, our mission is to support the producer and his consultant by providing
information, tools supporting each step of the process, helpdesk, training, and local
agronomic assistance to assure successful implementations.
This approach has been validated by GeoAgro clients in more than 480,000 acres, helping
them reach significant benefits, operational efficiency, and improving decision making in each
farm. Also, environmental benefits are significant, since it reduces the required amount of
fertilizers and pesticides.

1 Examples from: Jonathan Keinjan et al., 'Developing Productivity Zones from Multiple Years of Yield
Monitor data', GIS Applications in agriculture edited by Francis J. Pierce and David Clay, 2007
GeoAgro | 1
Description of the process and scope of services

The Process

The process is a continuous cycle that can be improved every season. It comprises the
following steps:
• The first step is Georeferencing of farm and fields boundaries, as well as
the base map information (soils, topography, imagery)

• Generation of productivity maps, which delineate areas with higher and lower
productivity, based on the analysis of historical satellite images on key dates.
• Ground truthing (field validation) of the distribution of productivity zones, to
identify limiting factors. Optionally, soil samples can be taken and sent to the lab for
further analysis.
• Characterization of management zones, and making decisions on alternative
courses of action, such as prescription of variable rate seeding or fertilizing, or crop
rotation strategies based on economic considerations.
• Variable rate applications, yield mapping, and post season analysis to verify results
and evaluate management improvements for next season

The scope of services is detailed as follows.

GeoAgro | 2
Base Map
To generate the base map, the following steps are carried out:
a) Sending information by the client, optionally as shape file boundaries, or GPS points with
farm layout.
b) GeoAgro georreferences the farm/fields and compiles the base information.
c) GeoAgro provides the base map comprising the following layers:
• Georeferenced farm and field boundaries
• 3 satellite images on key dates (depending on availability of the imagery provider)
• 3 images of normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI). These maps will provide
a first view of intra-field variability
• General Cartography (states, counties, Public Land Survey System, roads, etc.)

Productivity maps by field


Productivity maps show productivity within each zone in the field represented with different
colors. Blue tones represent areas of higher productivity, green tones represent medium
productivity levels, and tones close to yellow represent areas with lower production.

The maps are generated based on the cluster analysis technique, which combines Vegetation
indexes maps; It's an objective procedure which compares different responses from a
different time, in a single thematic map.
For this purpose, satellite images on key dates are selected, where crops reflect an advanced
growth stage. Normalized vegetation indexes are generated based on these images.
The different normalized layers are integrated and summarized in the productivity map. These
show homogeneous zones, facilitating the generation of management zones and prescription
maps with recommendations of variable inputs of seeds or fertilizers.
It's important to mention that the map is generated by field and the analysis is intra-field,
allowing to compare productive areas within the same field, but not between fields.
The following figures illustrate the process.

GeoAgro | 3
Image:Landsat 5TM 3/8/2004 Image:Landsat 5TM 01/06/2005 Image:Landsat 5TM 01/25/2006

NDVI 01/06/2005 NDVI 01/25/2006


NDVI 3/8/2004

After generating all the required normalized NDVI layers, these are integrated through the
cluster technique, defining homogeneous areas and generating the productivity map.

Ground truthing and characterization of management zones


It includes the following steps:
• Initial interpretation of productivity maps, evaluating possible limiting factors.
• Planning of field visits, defining 'spots' that will require detailed review.
• Ground truthing (field validation) through a 'field-walk' using GPS, visiting the selected
spots and others.
• Optionally, duing the visit or afterwards, sampling points can be taken for later
analysis by the soil lab and adjusting the management zones characterization.

GeoAgro | 4
• After review of the gathered information, management zones are defined, taking into
account homogeneous areas and limiting factors.
GeoAgro provides tools and remote support to carry out this phase. Optionally, local
agronomic support is available to do an on-site evaluation togeher with the producer or
assigned personnel, and to answer questions about the process.

Variable rate prescription and applications, yield mapping, and post season
analysis
The knowledge of management zones is applied in the following steps. GeoAgro provides the
tools and support to facilitate its implementation:
• Differential management or Variable rate prescription: In this step, the
consultant enters the recommended input rates in a Prescription tool to obtain a
prescription map. Optionally, decisions may just focus on alternative crop rotation or
drainage strategies for instance.
• Variable rate applications: Prescription maps can be automatically exported in
a compatible format with the variable rate equipment, and sent by e-mail to the
contractor or equipment operator.
• Yield mapping: If available, yield maps are valuable data that can provide
accurate information on the yield distribution, and the impact of management
decisions. Yield maps can be imported in shape file or txt formats to the system.
• Post season analyisis: Also, tools are provided to relate different layers, such as
yields with management zones or prescription maps. Then, data is exported to excel
for more detailed analysis, and drawing conclusions for the next season.
Please visit http://www.geoagro.com/en/content/geoagro-gis-quick-tour for an
overview of some of these features

Summary of services provided


As mentioned, our mission is to facilitate the implementation of agriculture by management
zones in each step of the process through a combination of resources for the producer and
the consultant. This includes:
• Information processing:GeoAgro provides the required information to support
the described process, including base map information, historic NDVI information, an
productivity maps for each field. Information can be downloaded to GeoAgro GIS or
other GIS of the client’s choice
• Software tools: Alternatively, clients may use the GIS that they are currently
using, or GeoAgro GIS, which has been designed to facilitate the whole process, and
is provided as part of the service . This acts as an implementation platform,
organizing and analyzing georeferenced information, simple to use and at the same
time with powerful features for agronomic management (see
http://www.geoagro.com/en/content/geoagro-gis)

• Support: As part of the service, our support team dedicated to assist clients in
solving any issues that may arise when implementing the process. The Support
Center is available at: http://wikiagro.com/en/Portals:GeoAgro_Support,
where clients can search for an answers, review reference guides, troubleshooting,
Frequently Asked Questions and other useful resources. Also, support is available by
email or phone. This is provided as part of the service.

GeoAgro | 5
• Training: GeoAgro's Training team can help you optimize information management
for crop production and making effective use of technologies. Through Self-paced
tutorials, Web-based seminars, or instructor-led online courses, clients can find the
best option for your needs in GeoAgro's training center, available at:
http://wikiagro.com/en/Portals:GeoAgro_Training. Training on the
management zones process is included as part of the service.
• Local Agronomic support: Optionally, and at an additional cost, technical
advice can be provided on site regarding specific topics of the agriculture by
management zones process, such as variable rate application, yield monitors, or
other related topics.

GeoAgro | 6