Farm management practices
Information to be collected under this category focuses on the farm practices that are periodically carried out by the farmer to ensure good yield. Most information here is qualitative, and not directly measurable. However, a good knowledge of these practices can be invaluable in correctly interpreting RS images for agricultural management. You will need to interview the farmer to get a reasonably accurate picture of how these management practices are carried not. Like the variables in the farm characteristics category, these information can be collected once during the cropping season. Management practices to be considered are:
- Tillage practices: tillage refers to the manipulation of soil that promotes good germination of seed and crop growth on an FMU. Tillage occurs prior to planting (ploughing) as well as during crop growth (weeding). It is important to record the strategy that is adopted on the FMUs under survey.
- Dates and frequency of weeding: the data collection protocol must have a slot for recording such information for each visited FMU. It can be beneficial in satellite image interpretation, e.g. when an image is taken at a time that a particular FMU is very weedy. It can help in explaining differences in spectral response from two fields containing the same crop type and having the same cropping calendar.
- Nutrient management: this sub category is supposed to capture information on whether fertilizer (organic or inorganic) is applied or not, the quantity and the rate (periods) of application. Differences in fertilizer application from one FMU to the other can affect plant vigor and hence possibilities of understanding differences in spectral response.
- Agricultural water management: information on the water management strategy adopted for an FMU should be collected.