• TerrAvion TerrAvion
  • Apr 30
  • 2 min read

Using imagery to address flooding in your fields

In addition to being a great tool for irrigation management, TerrAvion thermal imagery is also valuable as a tool for monitoring excessive moisture in your fields. Whether it be the result of severe weather or faulty drainage systems, thermal image data can help you identify and address over-saturated parts of your fields. 

Identifying flooded areas

TerrAvion Flooding ImageryGrowers using TerrAvion subscription imagery can use it to identify flooded areas in their fields. In particular, for farmers with a large number of acres, this imagery is a vital tool for helping them inspect every acre under their management before actually having to step foot in their fields. Without having to walk their acres physically, grower use their thermal imagery to identify areas most impacted by flooding. For all growers, even those managing fewer acres, TerrAvion thermal layer can help identify areas affected by flooding that might not be immediately evident on the ground level or in natural color imagery. After standing water has settled out of sight, into the soil, thermal images will still be able to tell growers what areas hold more water in the soil than others. TerrAvion imagery enhances growers’ ability to identify irrigation and drainage issues, which are often discernible based upon geospatial patterns that are difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain from the ground level. The information that TerrAvion’s high-resolution imagery provides can help growers make input decisions and determine if they need to make drainage or other field amendments.

Nutrient leaching

TerrAvion thermal imagery can be used to identify waterlogged soils prone to nutrient leaching, zones which growers can then target for preemptive nutrient replenishment applications to prevent a loss of yield. After emergence, NDVI imagery is used to spot plant stress resulting from nutrient deficiencies. This presents another opportunity for growers to target areas for variable-rate nutrient side-dressing applications. Tools provided in TerrAvion’s OverView web interface allow users to create thermal andTerrAvion imagery for nutrient leaching NDVI management zone maps to guide variable-rate applications.

The images to the right show a field that suffered from nitrogen leaching due to a heavy rainstorm in early June. You can see the effects of nitrogen deficiency in the natural color and NDVI imagery from June 27th. The thermal map layer from shortly after the storm, on June 6th, revealed waterlogged soil that typically leads to the nitrogen leaching. Had this grower acted proactively by applying a warranted nutrient application top dressing, he could have avoided this eventual loss of yield and profit. 

Drainage failures

TerrAvion Imagery for tile drainage amendments Farmers that use TerrAvion aerial imagery which have tillage or other types of drainage systems in their fields can use their natural color and thermal data to identify areas where their drainage systems are not operating efficiently. The image to the left is an example of a field on June 15th with a tile drainage system that is not draining standing water adequately (the purple color in the thermal image). The NDVI image from about a month later, on July 20th, shows the results of this drainage system failure in the red colored areas; extreme low vigor growth. This grower used this information to help him redesign the tile lines in this field.

TerrAvion imagery helps in 2019 

When the flooding starts to recede, and Midwest growers are ready to shift their attention to the 2019 growing season, we will be ready to assist. Most customers in the Midwest will receive at least one bare soil flight before planting to help them make decisions on how to work through the aftermath of this historically wet spring. Are you taking advantage of all the value TerrAvion aerial imagery offers?

Share your experience in the comments. Or if you do not use our aerial imagery yet, it is not too late.

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