Managing crop and pasture nutrition starts with establishing management areas. By defining different management areas, users can alter target yields and fertiliser rates for each zone based on available soil nutrients and crop and pasture demand.

The paddock boundary often defines the management area, but we all know that some areas within a paddock perform better than others. Defining management zones within a paddock means better nutrition management across the whole paddock. Using zones does not mean you have to use variable rate applications but does make it easier to collect representative samples and get a more accurate picture of the nutritional status of the paddock. 

Zone paddocks easily
CSBP DecipherAg makes creating management zones from satellite imagery easy. The bulk zone feature allows you to zone multiple paddocks in one step. When viewing biomass imagery across multiple paddocks or farms, the zones tool will use its clustering algorithm to define areas of similar production within paddocks. 

Management zones can be created using any of the DecipherAg imagery indexes – MSAVI (Modified Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index), NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index), NDRE (Normalised Difference Red Edge) and from individual satellite images, the calculated monthly peak, or multi-seasonal peak images. 

Each of these image types can be used at different stages throughout the season to define zones for things like poor germination (single image MSAVI), in-season nitrogen application (monthly peak NDVI) and sample site planning using long-term production trends (multi-season peak NDRE).

To simplify the process of using zone maps to set target yields and plan sampling sites, all CSBP-linked accounts now have zone maps for each of their farms created automatically, based on six seasons (2016-2021) of peak NDRE.

Figure 1. Three paddocks showing the long-term production trends using multi-season peak NDRE from 2017-2021 in DecipherAg (top), and the zone map based on the NDRE image (bottom).