SWAT MAPS

Soil, Water, and Topography (SWAT) MAPS are high-definition zone maps of soil potential. SWAT MAPS are the foundation of all variable-rate fertilizer and seed applications and enable service providers and their growers to better understand field variability in order to optimize crop inputs and profitability.

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Soil-Based Zone Maps

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Soil

Factors such as salinity, soil textures, soil organic matter levels, and topsoil depth all impact yield and fertilizer response.

Water

Water is the most profound influence on yield and fertilizer response. SWAT MAPS delineate dry (knolls) versus wet (depressions) areas of the field into zones for proper management.

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Topography

Topography describes landscape position (knoll, midslope, depression) and influences moisture, erosion, organic matter levels, pH, and soil fertility levels.

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Benefits and Opportunities

1

Prevent Lodging

5

Prevent

Nitrogen Loss

2

Boost ROI on 

Applied Nutrients

6

Treat Acid &
Sodic Soils

3

Delineate Salinity

& Drainage

7

Boost Herbicide Performance

4

Improve Maturity

& Crop Staging

8

Environmental Stewardship

What Our Partners Say

Tyler Kessler

Kessler AgVentures

“My confidence in how the zone maps are made as well as the agronomy behind mapping, zoning, prescribing, and technical support are second to none in the VR industry. SWAT MAPS are my first and only choice for mapping fields and creating VR prescriptions for the clients I work with.”

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Jason Schley

Next Level Ag

“All good decisions come from data, without a good base layer map being the foundation for good decisions on any operation there are to many decisions made from testimonials not data driven off of the farm.  SWAT is the answer to getting an operation more in tune with making proper input decisions.  We need this layer of decision making for yesterday, today and tomorrow!”

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Jonathan Zettler

Fieldwalker Agronomy

“Precision ag isn’t just a once and done. It’s a constantly evolving process. That’s part of what attracted me to SWAT MAPS. It’s a systematic process to building seed or fertilizer response zones. It’s repeatable; you go and do it once and then you’ve got management zones to work with. The map is just the starting point. We use it to identify opportunities where we will get a response.”

The Process

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Data Collection & Layer Development

The base layers of information that are used to make a SWAT MAP are typically electrical conductivity (EC) data and high quality elevation data. The EC data can come from several sources such as Veris, EM38, TopSoil Mapper, or a SWAT BOX.  Elevation data must be RTK quality or sourced from Lidar. The elevation data is used to create topography layers, water flow and accumulation layers, as well as other layers that can all be used to modify the final SWAT MAP. 

Ground-Truthing

With the raw data processed, several potential SWAT MAPS are created, which are then ground-truthed by a SWAT Certified agronomist.  This process needs to be done to ensure good quality data and that the SWAT MAP accurately depicts the soil and water variability in the field. SWAT MAPS always have 10 zones for consistency, to accommodate the most variable of fields, and to match the precision of newest VR capable equipment with sectional VR or row by row capability. 

Soil Sampling

Once the SWAT MAP is ground-truthed, it can be soil sampled by zone. Typically, 5 out of 10 SWAT zones are sampled to reflect the extent of soil and nutrient variability, but this depends on the field and end goal as well as cost vs. benefit of sampling intensity. 

The Process  (continued)

Variable-Rate Reports & Prescriptions

The next step is typically making variable rate prescriptions for seed, fertilizer, or soil-applied herbicides using the SWAT map and soil test results.  This step requires local agronomic knowledge, but is the step that takes data and turns it into actionable value to the farm. 

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Post-Seeding VR Assessment

When the crop is emerged, SWAT Agronomists will typically do an early season assessment checking plant stands by zone and looking for any early season nutrient issues that could be addressed. This is a valuable step for monitoring success of VR seed rates, or to identify future opportunities with VR seed and fertility. 

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Pre/Post-Harvest VR Assessment

Finally, late crop assessments along with yield data can be analyzed by SWAT zone to measure success.  Soil samples can be taken every year at the same geo-references locations to track nutrient levels and ensure applied nutrients are meeting yield targets, accounting for soil mineralization and nutrient losses.  This can be particularly important for nutrients like nitrogen. 

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Growers

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Optimize your inputs and manage your field variability

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Even crop staging and maturity, improved standability, and higher quality

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Boost ROI by allocating nutrients where they are needed

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Generate short- and long-term improvements to farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability

Service Providers

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Become the local expert in precision agriculture

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Increase your acre retention rate

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Boost your efficiencies, professionalism, and profitability

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Help local growers implement variable-rate fertilizer and seed applications