The SWAT MAPS Process
The process for developing SWAT MAPS is intensive for the first year with field data and boundary collection, field mapping, layer and zone creation, ground truthing and laying out soil sample points. In subsequent years the work and fees drop considerably as the zone maps and sample points are now established.
Consultants: The Croptimistic team is available to support you for any of the 12 steps that you are unable to complete yourself.
The 12-Step Process for New Fields:
Annual Service Begins at Step 6:
1. Field Data Collection: Electrical conductivity and high grade elevation are required, organic matter optional.
• Elevation can be acquired with vehicles (quads, UTVs, trucks) equipped with RTK receiver and base station. LiDAR can be used if it is of acceptable quality. Farmer generated RTK data from equipment is generally of poor quality as travel paths can be wide and cell connection signals (via towers) are often too far away.
• Electrical conductivity - SWAT BOX is preferred - our new autonomous EC mapping unit that sends EC recordings to our CropRecords server in real-time. Any type of EC unit data (Veris, EM38, TSM, Dual EM) will work as long as it is
acceptable quality. A border file is required.
2. Data Cleaned/Prepped for Development: Boundary files are collected and finalized. Raw data is prepared into the proper structure, cleaned, and checked for errors. Data clipped to field boundary. Data is now ready for layer and zone map development procedures.
3. SWAT MAPS Zone and Layer Development: This step is completed by Croptimistic SWAT MAPS Specialists in accordance with the patented SWAT MAPS development process. Many layers of information are developed such as normalized EC, topography, depressions, water flows. From these various layers, a selection of multiple SWAT zone map options are all synched to the CropRecords app to the consultants’ file sync.
4. Ground-truthing: This is the process of the precision agronomist driving the field to make sure the correct SWAT zones are depicted. Observing the layers for the field such as soil properties, water and salinity patterns, topography, etc. will aid in selecting the right SWAT MAP.
5. CropRecords Fee for SWAT MAPS VR Module: This is the consultant's cost to use the Windows CropRecords system and GK viewer integration. Includes database, file sync, and app use. It also includes the VR module - our system that simplifies the prescription report creation, adds exclusive topography models, and builds on our fertilizer and crop response database. Learn more about the VR module here.
6. Soil Sampling:
• Zone sampling: GPS sample points on 5 zones is the minimum requirement; one set of samples at each of the extremes (zone 1 and 10) and three sets of samples in between (typically zones 2-3, 5-6, 7-8). There are typically 20-40 sample points in fields depending on the size of it.
• SWAT Grid Sampling: this is a grid sampling alternative which uses the existing zone map and points but does not put all of the zone sample points together into one composite sample. The 20-40 sample points on the map are sampled individually, not into 5 composite zone samples.
• Artifacts: old yard sites, new breaking, old well sites, manured portions, etc. are all areas of the field that may require a modified area of the zone map that is different from the rest of the field and needs a separate sample and prescription rate.
7. Soil Tests:
• In the first year, typically a complete test is conducted including OM, macro and micro nutrients. Additional tests (base saturations, sodium, textures, etc.) can be conducted depending on the area and what the potential problems are. This is up to the agronomist but must contain the basics of OM, N, P, K, S, Cl, Cu, Zn and pH at a bare minimum. Single or multiple depths are configurable.
• Once soil tests are imported to the database they go directly into reports and on to the client’s app. It is a requirement to import the soil test data to insure client data ownership.
8. VR Reports / Recommendations / Fertility Plans: The primary job for this component is to get the farmers seeding equipment, machinery, logistics, fertilizer products, crops, and other general fertility and seed plans in place. Assessment of the general plan is a critical component to the farm fertility plan. Once this is established, individual field reports are made to vary the products throughout the zones.
9. Prescriptions/Controller Support: Once the VR reports and fertility plan are completed in CropRecords, it must be approved by the farm client. Then the prescriptions files are built for the controller(s) that the client has. Files are transferred and controller support is made available by phone or a farm visit.
10. SWAT Process: This fee is a charge from the service provider to the client for all the labour associated with training, operating, and supporting the platform during the year.
11. Agronomic Assessment 1: This first field visit is made after crop emergence to assess plant stands of various crops by zone and take zone pictures of the fields checked. This is also a general farm visit to see how the process worked and a general farm agronomy check to see any patterns, issues, and general overview.
12. Agronomic Assessment 2: This is a pre-harvest visit to see if there is lodging and maturity differences, and other possible issues such as disease or insect damage. It is a general farm check to see if any agronomic issues or opportunities related to VR fertilizer and seed are present. Satellite images may be used to confirm seasonal changes in growth. It is also a good time to do a farm client visit and assess the overall service feedback.