How GIS Services Improve the Use of Soil Inputs

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Computer data gathering and analysis can help improve many aspects of the world around us, including the efficiency and success of your farm. Geographic information systems (GIS) help farm operators use information about their farms to improve the use of soil inputs and, ultimately, to make more profitable and sustainable business and environmental decisions.

 

What Are GIS Services?

GIS uses hardware and software to gather geographic data, create organized visual representations, and perform spatial analyses. The hardware can involve computers, satellites, drones, and handheld GPS units, collecting data from local terrain as well as incorporating global information. By incorporating both individually obtained data and data collected by universities, government agencies, and private companies, a farm operation can map and project fluctuations in precipitation, temperature, crop yields, and more as they apply specifically to the farm. Some of these data sources include watersheds, aerial photography, municipal and district boundaries, tax map parcels, weather records, and road networks. Interactive applications like the USDA’s CropScape, which shows the type, quantity, and location of crops growing across the country, can also be invaluable resources to incorporate into your analysis.

GIS can be used for simple geographical applications, such as mapping farm areas (including drawing boundaries or plotting out crop fields) and identifying resources (like utility connections or power lines). However, GIS also offers the ability to integrate and analyze geographic data from various sources in deeper and more meaningful ways.

 

Advantages of Using GIS

Using these data sources, GIS technology can

  • Integrate and analyze the interaction and distribution of variables like soil type, wind direction, rainfall, aspect, topography, slope, or elevation on your land.
  • Analyze data and make recommendations for improved crop management, site suitability, drainage planning, and risk prevention from weather, disease, and other threats.
  • Analyze soil data in the context of historical farming practices to determine the best crops to plant, when and where to plant them, and how best to prepare, supplement, and maintain soil nutrition levels.
  • Help you adapt to variables in real time, monitoring the health of individual crops and making ongoing recommendations to maximize crop production.

Overall, GIS helps you create more effective and efficient farming techniques by using big-picture data to inform recommendations tailored to your farm. Using GIS on your farm allows you to gain a full understanding of your land and what it needs, analyzing soils, weeds, nutrients, weather, insect threats, disease, and other variables. It allows you to easily and consistently monitor the health of your crops and adapt your farming practices based on the results. Real-time data collection allows you to detect risks early, enabling you to predict and identify threats before they become a problem. It also helps you identify trends on your own farm and across the industry and strategize for greater efficiency and profitability.

 

Learn More About SoilRight’s FieldIQ GIS Services

SoilRight’s FieldIQ GIS services collect and analyze your farm’s data, including field records, soil tests, and input purchase information, and use that data to create variable-rate prescriptions for seed and nutrients. These precision recommendations can then be loaded into the computers in your controllers and delivered precisely where they need to be for best results. If you’re ready to see how GIS can help maximize your farm’s outputs and efficiency, contact SoilRight today.

 

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Written By

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw

SoilRight Consultant sshaw@familyfarmsgroup.com 618-372-7448

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