Late and off season can seem like a tricky time to engage with growers. What value can you provide when there’s nothing more they (or you) can do to increase that season’s yield, or when there are no more plants in the ground?
As it turns out, there are still several opportunities for you to connect with your growers and continue providing the customer experiences you’ve worked on all year long.
It’s not difficult to see the value in helping growers build a harvest plan based on late season data you’ve collected using multispectral satellite data (specifically, NDVI and NDRE), which provides an indication of where the plant is in terms of harvest readiness. As we saw with the crop health analytics, those readings are based on chlorophyll content, which varies based on how close the plant is to hitting peak harvest season. Combining that data with aerial imagery captured by drones provides growers with a comprehensive overview of harvest readiness across all acreage – and that helps them create an efficient harvest plan to maximize their time in the field.
If an area hasn’t performed as expected, crop residue cover may provide some clues; and fortunately, this can be done using remote sensing technology, which keeps the cost reasonable while being timely and efficient. It’s done by the sensing and recording of reflective radiation in shortwave infrared, near infrared, and visible bands, which makes it possible to assess the soil without necessarily taking samples. This isn’t a perfect science – yet, anyway – and so soil samples of areas with suspected nutrient deficiencies may still be needed.
The end of the season is the ideal time for growers to make repairs on the field, but not all repairs are obvious to the naked eye, especially for growers who have a lot of acreage and may not be able to make the full rounds in a timely manner. Flying the fields at this point to provide your growers with images of the fields to show them specific areas that may be in need of repair saves them time and facilitates decision making – especially when you pair that information with data on the yield in those sections, making it clear whether putting the time and money into fixing something like a drainage issue is worthwhile.
Planning for Next Year
This is really where it all comes together, and should be considered an imperative opportunity for you to help the grower maximize their acreage and yield. By taking all the data and reporting you’ve collected throughout the year, comparing that to other influential data, such as weather, you’re in a prime position to help your grower fully understand what changes they should consider making for the next year.