Harvest Season: How To Time Your Harvest Using TerrAvion Imagery - Commodity

How To Time Your Harvest Using TerrAvion Imagery

Corn, soybean, and grain fields dry down unevenly, resulting in a difficult balance between moisture levels, yield levels, and harvest requirements. With TerrAvion, you can use our imagery to help identify optimum moisture levels across an entire field to determine the ideal time to harvest.


This is an NDVI image of a cornfield taken on September 23rd. In monitoring dry-down, the first step would be to ground-truth this image and determine how a certain level of dryness is represented on the vigor scale. For example, you can correlate field measures of moisture content to the NDVI scale to understand the relative extent of the measurement to the entire field. In this case, let’s assume that the grower determined that the optimal moisture level for harvest correlates to .14 - .26 on the NDVI scale, which is illustrated on this map by the yellow and orange.


If we look at the histogram for this NDVI image, we can see that only 21% of this field has reached the ideal dryness levels. In this specific case, the field is not ready for harvest.


In this NDVI image of the same field taken 2 weeks later, you can see that the field has matured further and looks mostly yellow and orange.


If we look at the histogram for this image, we can see that 57% of the field has reached the optimum dryness level, while another 29% is approaching the ideal level of dryness. At this point, for this specific case, the majority of relative dryness throughout the field is at or just about to enter to ideal dryness levels for harvest.


This is an NDVI image of a soybean field taken on September 17th. 13% to 15% moisture, which in this example represents the ideal moisture level for harvest, correlates to .14 - .26 on the NDVI scale.


If we look at the histogram for this NDVI image, we can see that 69% of this field is at the optimum dryness level. Soybean dryness levels can decrease quickly, TerrAvion’s quick turnover from the moment images are taken to the moment they are delivered allows you to rely on our imagery to make time-sensitive decisions in determining to optimum time for harvest.


You can use the new summary tool to track the growth of your field throughout the year and to help inform your decision on when to harvest. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to cycle through your images for the year, and toggle on the histogram button to watch the histogram evolve throughout the season.




How To Determine The Ideal Time To Harvest With TerrAvion :

  1. As the time for harvest approaches, ground truth your TerrAvion imagery as soon as possible after they are delivered. TerrAvion delivers your imagery within 24 hours after it was captured. By ground-truthing your imagery as soon as you receive it, you will get an accurate understanding of how the moisture levels in your field correlate to NDVI values in your imagery, allowing to you make informed harvest decisions based on your imagery,
  2. After ground-truthing your imagery, determine the NDVI value that represents the ideal moisture level for harvest.
  3. Review your imagery and determine how much of your field is of that NDVI value.
  4. Use the histogram tool to get more exact figures on the moisture levels throughout your field.
  5. Use the NDVI representation of moisture levels in your fields to inform a decision on when to begin harvest.

This is how you can use TerrAvion imagery to determine the ideal time to harvest based on the relative dryness levels across your field.