Two new maps produced by the WinField R7 Tool beginning this fall will provide maps that show how a variable rate field prescription performed to achieve yield goals and profit for farmers.

“We are taking raw yield data off a combine and through our processes, we turn it into two maps of a field. The first one is called a Field Response Map, and the second one is simply called a Profitability Map,” said Dave Gebhardt, director of data and technology for WinField.

The field response map correlates the harvest data from a combine’s yield monitor with whatever the farmer used as a yield goal map to develop a precision prescription developed using the R7 Tool for planting and inputs, explained Gebhardt.

The profitability map also requires yield data from the combine and then correlates yield with all the input costs put into the field to show a map where the profit occurred and where it didn’t across the field.

“Basically, the R7 Tool will take the yield data from the combine and overlay that back on top of all inputs that were put into the field. Whether it was a static rate across the whole field or whether it was a variable-rate plan for inputs of fertilizer, seed or whatever,” Gebhardt further explained. “It will actually give a farmer a spatial view of profitability. Green areas will show up as very profitable, and yellow or red will mean that something didn’t quite work as well as projected. This takes the discussion that farmers like down to dollars and cents on their fields.”

To get the most value from the field response and profitability maps produced at the end of the growing season depends on farmers using the R7 Tool to develop precision agriculture field prescriptions prior to planting.

The R7 Tool still uses satellite imagery and soil mapping along with multiple-year data from approximately 200 Answer plots. The plots provide insight into selecting the right genetics for the right soil type at the right plant population in the right cropping system with the right traits for the right nutrition and right crop protection. This is where the R7 Tool name comes from for building a field prescription.

Satellite imagery is important for first-year field prescriptions in the majority of situations because there are few farmers that have good yield data for input to create management zones. As fields change hands with new renters or owners, quality precision information is seldom available.

“Yield data is really the score card for a field, especially if we can produce these two types of new maps that show the efficiency of the prescription and also the profitability,” Gebhardt said.

A local agronomist associated with WinField using the R7 tool can develop a field prescription that commonly will include a variable-rate planting program, variable-rate fertilizer application program and seed selection for 2014. In the fall, if the farmer collects high quality combine yield data, then he/she can have yield response and profitability maps produced.

WinField is adding extras for the farmers who have used the R7 Tool in the past and a good incentive for more farmers to enroll in using the R7 Tool for 2014. The capability of the R7 Tool to produce the two maps will be functional sometime this fall.