Whether you are applying your own fertilizer and chemicals or having it custom applied, collecting your as-applied files for your records is vital practice for optimizing your inputs. Application files include valuable information on equipment performance, actual application rates, products applied, date and time of applications, and can be used to prove or disprove possible errors in application.
Most equipment has the ability to track the applications, even if it is applying a flat rate. If you are applying with your own equipment make sure it is recording the data from the applicator. If you are not sure how to set up the monitor, contact your dealer and they can help you set the monitors to capture this data.
When you contract your custom application of any product, ask the provider to send you the as-applied files for your application.
What should you ask for?
When requesting files from the custom applicator, the most common file format used is the Shapefile which includes at least 3 files for each application. The files you should receive have the same name but the extensions are .shp, .shx and .dbf:
The custom applicator may not have the option of producing a shapefile, but you can request the raw data that the applicator creates and use a desktop software such as SMS, APEX, and Farmworks etc. to view the data.
Application files are an excellent way for you to keep track of what is being applied to your fields and to keep accurate records of input efficiency on your operation.