As Ken Ferrie works with farmers, he often does what he calls a field map session each year with them.
As you would expect, the biggest factor in the conversation, on whether it’s productive, is quality maps.
“A map should talk to us when we look at it,” says Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist and owner of Crop-Tech, Inc., near Heyworth, Ill.
Of course, a map can only tell you accurate information if you calibrated monitors before harvest.
“I think farmers turn off their hearing aids when I tell them that, but you have to have entered the correct information to make the map useful,” Ferrie says.
Records on your agronomic management practices for the year under discussion are also needed. These include information on hybrids used, their field placement, products applied and tillage practices. Even retailer invoices can provide information that could be useful to the session.
Ferrie adds that an iPad or iPhone make it easier to keep records on fields, but written records are also good as long as they’re detailed notes.
The human experience is another valuable factor in field map sessions.
“The people who help raise the crop should be present in the discussion, so bring as many of your people actively involved in the production process with you,” Ferrie says. “Sometimes our conference room is full of people as we review the past year. You’ll notice the following year that they all step up their game in collecting information the following season when you include them in discussions.”
For more details on effective field map sessions, listen to Ferrie’s Boots In The Field podcast here: