6.1.4. Farm management practices

Information collected in this category focuses on practices periodically carried out by the farmer in the field to ensure good yield. Most information in this category is qualitative, and not directly measurable. However, good knowledge of farm practices allows for better interpretation of RS images for agricultural management. Farmer interviews should provide a reasonably accurate picture of how the field is managed. Like the variables in the farm characteristics category, this information is collected once during the cropping season. Management practices to be considered are:

  1. Tillage practices: tillage is the manipulation of soil that promotes good germination of seeds and crop growth. Practices occur prior to planting (ploughing) but also during crop growth (weeding). The farmer’s strategy adopted for tillage in the field should be known.
  2. Dates and frequency of weeding: the data collection protocol should record this information for each field. It can be beneficial in satellite image interpretation, as it will flag whether a field is or is not weedy. This may explain differences in spectral response between fields with the same crop and cropping calendar.
  3. Nutrient management: this captures whether fertilizers (organic or inorganic) are applied, the quantity and the rate (periods) of application. Differences between fields may affect plant vigor and hence (again) may explain differences in spectral response.
  4. Agricultural water management: information on the water management strategy adopted for each FMU should be collected.