Got GPS Toys? Put Them to Work!
aybe you were one of those fortunate few that received
some GPS toys from Santa this past Christmas. Perhaps he left you a new pocket
PC outfitted with a WAAS-enabled DGPS receiver and some nifty field mapping
software? Maybe these new GPS toys helped you justify the purchase of that new
ATV so that you could map a few field boundaries while you cruise around the
Now that youve mapped the boundaries of every field on your farm
(and maybe your neighbors fields, too) with these toys and grid soil
sampled down to the nearest half acre, what else is there to do with these
high-priced high-tech gadgets? The current delay to the start of corn and
soybean planting offers an opportunity for georeferencing (mapping) potential
yield limiting factors now before you get going on some serious planting.
- Got ponded areas or seriously wet spots in your fields? Map those
boundaries for future tile drainage decisions or for future crop scouting
- Got large patches of Canada thistle or other nasty perennial weeds
popping up everywhere? Map the boundaries for future site-specific herbicide
applications (what we used to call spot spraying.) Annotate those mapped
boundaries with ratings of the severity of the weed problem so that you can
prioritize your spraying schedule.
- Got tile blowouts or sinkholes from recent goose drownders? Map those
spots so that you remember where they are when you get around to fixing them or
to help you avoid them with the tractor and planter when you plant that field.
- Got distinct areas of wonderfully green winter annual weeds that have
been attracting every black cutworm (BCW) moth in the country this spring? Map
those areas for future site-specific monitoring of BCW larvae feeding activity
on the corn that will eventually be growing in those fields.
Once youve mapped these yield limiting factors, dont stop
for the season. Put these GPS-enabled mapping and scouting devices to work
throughout the year as other yield limiting factors develop.
Successful yield map interpretation depends on more than just soil maps
and intensive soil nutrient sampling. There are a gozillion factors that
influence the yield of corn and soybean, the combinations of which change every
year. Successful site-specific crop management depends on site-specific
identification of as many of these yield-limiting factors as is humanly
Online Sources of Information:
- Assorted brands of pocket PCs:
- Field mapping & scouting software:
- WAAS-enabled DGPS receivers for pocket PCs:
The usual disclaimer: The inclusion or exclusion
of products, brand names, or Web sites in this article should not be construed
as anything other than a representative list that could be used to assemble a
portable GPS-enabled mapping/scouting system and does not constitute
endorsement or lack thereof by Purdue University or its Extension Corn
information about corn, take a look at the Corn Growers Guidebook on the World
Wide Web at http://www.kingcorn.org
It is the policy of the Purdue
Agronomy Department that all persons shall have equal opportunity and
access to its programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex,
religion, national origin, age, or disability. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action
employer. This material may be available in alternative formats.
© 2002, Purdue University
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