Fall Scouting With The Drought In Mind

Combining data, yield maps and in-field observation can help no-tillers understand field variability and make better management decisions.

Even though we’ve had a tough year with drought conditions, it’s a good time to evaluate your fields — and the yield information you have — to make the right management decisions for next year.

There are several things to consider, even after harvest ends. Combining information in your yield maps with post-harvest scouting will help you understand where management or equipment changes may be needed.

When scouting, try to determine which field areas have opportunities to improve and which field areas don’t. If you have a yield monitor, start by printing yield maps for each field.

The maps could identify areas that need scouting for a couple of reasons: 1) To see why yields were particularly high or low or, and; 2) Why yields may have been quite variable in selected field areas.

Moisture-Holding Capacity

This is certainly the year to look at yield maps and compare them to soil maps to make sure soil-moisture-holding-capacity zones are defined.

Soil types and/or soil-topsoil depths, and many other subsoil characteristics, may explain why some field areas are more drought stricken than others.

This irregularity may be easy to define, or it may be caused by an underlying management issue like compaction. Understanding your field’s ability to supply water to crops in different field areas is important for predicting how you might want to variably rate seed in the future.

Try to define whether these differences in yield are all due to soil variation, or if it’s issues like poor stands, compaction…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings