Well it’s 2016 and what better way to start then reflect on the year that was. For the team at Penagcon (who are passionate forward thinking agronomists and crop their own country near Bellata, NSW) something that stood out this year was soil acidity in chickpeas. When I emailed James Miller to answer a few question about Satamap he finished with how Satamap has helped them identify and begin to look at ways to solve the problem with soil acidity. The response to my questions are below.
James Miller, Penagcon P/L.
– What reservations you before trying Satamap?
We began using Satamap in early April 2015 to gain another view of crop production. Initially I was interested in comparing the images to previous yield maps and paddock histories and being familiar with NDVI, I was keen to observe whether these would correlate to the Satamap images.
– Did it meet or even exceed expectations?
Satamap images for the 2015 season and previous seasons (13 & 14) generally correlate very well to our current fields’ performance characteristics and where available previous yield maps reference very closely to the images.
– How do you use it in your business?
We currently use the images to evaluate crop performance during the season, further examine problem areas and scrutinise field trials and demonstrations for future seasons. It has been valuable in highlighting/emphasising areas of sodicity, salinity, acidity, heightened weed activity, missed strips in spraying and planting, varietal differences and compaction.
– Does it add value to your business?
Yes, I find Satamap adds that ‘extra dimension’ to field scouting and crop management that is important in addressing production differences and helping tweak our systems for maximum performance
– Will you continue to use it?
Yes, I think it broadens our field ability. At present we are referencing the 2015 Satamap images with yield maps to produce variable rate application maps for soil ameliorants such as lime and gypsum. One current field we are working on is pictured below. It will be receiving variable rate lime application to assist with pH deficiencies and excess nutrient solubility namely, Al and Mn associated with this. The brown-yellow to light green areas have been consistently lower performing sections of the field highlighted through yield maps and observed crop scouting. These areas have been grid soil sampled using the Satamap images, with results confirming the need for amelioration with lime.
Thanks James for the great feedback! To anyone reading this you will notice the image quality difference between the July and August images. Some time in July we started pan-sharpen our Landsat 8 imagery to 15 m pixels which is a significant quality improvement over the original 30 m. Soon we will have 10 m pixels available. Check out the next blog post for more information.