It's almost the time of the year when making New Year's resolutions are popular. Ever make a business resolution? If you haven't been using your data to make decisions, how about making that your resolution?
How should you start? I'd start with your yield maps. Look carefully and hear the stories that they tell. What are some of the real-world examples of how you can use your yield map to make decisions?
1. Red circle - This one is easy, using the yield map to quantify yield losses associated with drainage issues. Up to 10 bushels per acres @$9.50/bushel = $95 per acre. The economic loss is just as severe with corn. Breakeven on running tile might be as fast as 5 years. Wonder if my land owner will work with me on solving this issue?
2. Blue circle - simple too much traffic!!! 15+ bushels less per acre - that's $150/acre yield loss! We need a strategy to fix this! Maybe concentrated effort with a ripper and then more discipline about how we move in and out of the field?
3. Yellow rectangle - wow – between shading and competing for soil moisture, the trees in that fence row are sucking yield and money right off my balance sheet. I know the land owner wants habitat for game birds, but it comes at 10-15 bushel cost to me. Maybe showing him some of my yield maps will help in negotiating?
4. Orange circle - this i another drainage issue. I think this one is an easier fix – maybe some surface shaping and extending the waterway on the lower end.
5. Light blue circle - yikes – I remember this one – it's my first small patch of resistant waterhemp. This is mild compared to some in the neighborhood – time to get serious.
6. Green area in NW corner - oh my – this one is a puzzle at first. Two years ago, my contract manure applicator needed a place to finish and I'm fairly sure that's only part of the field that was knifed. This is definitely something I need to investigate – over 100 bushel per acre in many places!!!
You get the idea – your yield maps can be the first step in quantifying problems and figuring out solutions! Merry Christmas and best of luck with those New Year's resolutions!