The DecisionFarm precision ag software tool provides farmers with detailed analysis and advice specific to their individual farming properties.
Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
Sometimes you need to be like Nostradamus, predicting the weather and determining the best times to plant or spray—but using the DecisionFarm precision ag tool software built by Weather Innovations Consulting LP (WIN), farmers can receive insight on how to make their crop yield more effective.
Daryl Vermey, involved in Business Development with the Chatham, Ontario-headquartered WIN, recently presented a video overview of the DecisionFarm precision ag tool at the 2021 Great Ontario Yield Tour. WIN specializes in developing turnkey monitoring and modelling solutions for individual commodity groups and agencies for use at the farm level—providing the best available information from the local supply chain into practice—to make the best management and production decisions.
Accessing the DecisionFarm precision ag software, Vermey delved into its tools and features.
He noted that users have access to the company’s many farm-based tools and models, including: BINcast, SPRAYcast, nitrogen tools, Growing Degree Days (GDD), Crop Heat Units (CHU), crop growth stages, disease models and much more.
The software provides the ability to access near real-time weather conditions in a farmer’s region and across the province, and to see accurate and timely daily and hourly forecasts. Users can analyze their field’s history of tillage and agronomic information to better plan for the current and next season, with the ability to share data with their agronomist, ag-retail, see or chemical representatives.
“Essentially,” said Vermey, “these are tools to help you make better decisions on your farm.”
The following describes how Vermey showcased the DecisionFarm precision ag software tool’s ease-of use.
After a simple registration process, the default screen of “Create A Field” appears. For the first-time user, simply insert a descriptive farm name, and then add the area’s longitude and latitude.
Not to fret, the software allows the user to type in the farm’s address so the satellite imagery can automatically find the required longitude and latitude markers. One can then scroll in and plot the farm’s exact location.
Don’t worry about the so-called perceived technicalities of precision ag software tools—it’s much easier to navigate than one might expect. Vermey then noted that other pertinent information should be added to get the tool’s full effect: seed type and company variety, and your planned planting date.
The DecisionFarm software then takes you to a field measurement page, which calculates acreage and feet/miles after the user clicks on the edges of the field as shown via satellite imagery.
Finishing the set-up, the user is shown a third web page—The Field View—with multiple options to explore. This view can also be accessed via a menu on the left of your device’s screen.
The Field View allows the user to access:
- Your inputted field information;
- Current and upcoming hourly and future weather forecasts for the week;
- Seasonal Reports, featuring CHU, GDD & precipitation, showing how your farms is doing compared to the 30-year normal, and relative to the last growing season;
- Growth Stage Section, showing the growth stage of your indicated crop, including past, present and expected target growth dates;
- Historical Data, providing a 5-, 7-, and 30-day summary of temperature and precipitation accumulation;
- Environment Canada weather radar to view any potential systems in the general vicinity.
Within the Field View, clicking on any of the underlined titles will allow the user to gain even more in-depth farming data.
The Menu also affords an Overall View, showing all the farm areas which have been input into the DecisionFarm software. Using the Calendar function, one can see the temperature, precipitation and growth of all your crops (multiple crop types have individual options to examine), as well as present and future predictions based on historical data, such as when pests can be expected to appear.
Using the Map tab, provides a six-day past-to-future weather report and a map showing localized weather conditions, crop growth rate and pest indicator. One can even zoom in on the map to view pertinent weather conditions over your own or local-area fields.
Vermey directed viewers to the “More” area of the Menu, located under the “Modules” banner. Expanding a drop-down menu, a plethora of tools await the intrepid precision ag farmer to utilize: Forecast Data—a clutch of hourly or daily temperature, rain and relative humidity data; SPRAYcast; GDD; CHU; BINcast; Growth Stages—where one can view where your crops is at for that field, and see images of what it should look like for its period of growth; Pest Timings; Replant Calculator; Cover Crops; Seasonal Maps; Alerts; Radar; 4R Forecast; Crop Weather Stress; Field BINcast; Field Notes; Station Data Access; ET Water Check; and Historical Data.
While time constraints limited Vermey’s delving into showing the ins and outs of all of features, he did have time to visit several of what he termed, “DecisionFarm’s more popular features.”
The DecisionFarm precision ag tool is a tool the modern farmer needs to maximize crop yield and is available from Weather Innovations. For more information, contact Vermey at 519-352-5334, ext. 228; email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.weatherinnovations.com.
- Historical Data options include hourly or daily facts showing your farm’s historical weather conditions;
- GDD shows historical growing degree day data, including numbers for each day, and a daily accumulation total dependent on the inputted start and end dates;
- CHU–choosing which start and end dates provides a summation. For both CHU and GDD, a visual graph and chart is provided for ease of use. Hovering over any date on the chart, for example, allows the user to see that day’s data and total accumulation number;
- FIELD BINcast provides predicted equilibrium moisture content (EMC) over the next five-day period, allowing one to determine when to turn on a fan to dry a crop to achieve the best results. Used correctly, it will also provide energy savings;
- SPRAYcast is an advisory tool based on the available weather forecast. It examines wind speed, temperature, precipitation, type of spray nozzle, and the height one spray’s at to provide an hourly forecast over a two-day period to offer advice on when exactly to spray or avoid spraying an herbicide, fungicide, et al;
- Pest Timings–a mini encyclopedia on every type of pest relative to your crop planted, offering a history of when it might appear. Clicking on a specific pest provides detailed information and photo imagery on the pest and its relative invasiveness to your crop type.
The DecisionFarm precision ag tool is a tool the modern farmer needs to maximize crop yield and is available from Weather Innovations.
Watch the video for a visual analysis.