What is the Field Forecasting Tool and How Does it Help You?

This summer we have been making use of Winfield’s new Field Forecasting Tool (FFT) to help producers make better input decisions for this year’s crop. The Field Forecasting Tool takes Nitrogen rate calculators to a whole new level. Not only does it calculate Nitrogen within the model, it calculates Potassium as well. Other inputs the calculator takes into consideration are previous crops, tillage practices, soil type, soil nutrient levels, planting dates, planting depth, plant population, and seed variety. Events that affect the in-season adjustments of the model include growing degree units, growth stage updates, weather patterns, irrigation, fertilizer applications, and tissue samples.

As the crop is growing in the field it is also growing within the model based on the above factors. Growing degree units and weather patterns the tool puts together by itself but the other inputs must be entered by the agronomist so crop scouting is very important. Whenever a fertilizer application is made the model gets updated with that information and calibrated accordingly. While crop scouting we update the growth stage to help keep the model as up to date as possible and pull tissue samples.

Tissue samples are very important to the Field Forecasting Tool and are used to calibrate the system and keep the model accurate so we can use it to make fertilizer application decisions. There is a tab within the tool where we can set up a table with the type of the fertilizer being applied on a range of dates and application rates to determine the most profitable rate and day of application based off of fertilizer cost, application cost, predicted grain price, and change in bushels per acre. Another helpful tab within the model is the water management tab. Within it we can see rainfall and irrigation events that have already taken place and a prediction of rainfall based on the short and extended forecast, and a historical average. It also shows us if the field has experienced any water stress yet this year and predicted water stress so we can make irrigation decisions if there is a pivot on the field.

The Field Forecasting Tool is immensely helpful in assisting agronomists in their data calculations and predictions to help you, the producer, get the most out of your crop and your inputs. This tool really keeps the customer at the forefront, with improved predictions and models that will help you make economic and agronomic decisions beyond this year, but in the years to come.

Photo depicting a 2nd Over the Top application of fertilizer. Note the growth stage at the top (V12) and the predicted stress days.

Photo depicting Potassium levels across the growing season. In red, there are predicted potassium stress days.

Photo tracking urea applications. In dark green are days when applying urea is most profitable. In bright red, days when urea application would do no good. Also note the tool bar on the left side for calculating cost to the producer.

Photo depicting data taken from an in-field tissue sample. On the bottom you can see the growth stage the field was in at the same spot on June 14th, and then the progress in growth on June 25th. You can also see exactly how this area is doing in terms of nutrients listed around the middle circle. If the periodic symbol is green, it’s doing good. Yellow and red symbolize a deficiency.


Finally, here’s a look at the water predictions. It’s divided into soil available water, and outside source water (rain or irrigation) and predicts when the crop will be water deficient.

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