Soybean School: Measuring canopy closure in a snap

AGRIS agronomist Dale Cowan uses a phone app to assess canopy closure.

Keeping a close eye on crop canopy development can help growers better manage soybean crops.

From helping select the best row spacing for a specific variety, to improving weed control there’s much to learn from understanding the speed at which a soybean variety closes the row as well as plant characteristics and architecture.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Soybean School, AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan shares how he uses Canopeo, a free phone app developed by Oklahoma State University, to gather canopy information to make management decisions.

Using the app, researchers, agronomists, and farmers can gather canopy details by simply holding their phones at shoulder height above the canopy. The app takes still photos of the canopy and then calculates the percentage of ground that is covered by green vegetation, notes Cowan. “It’s a really rapid way to figure out just how much ground cover you have, and it’s also useful for assessing cover crop establishment,” he adds.

The app provides instant information to compare varieties in research plots and on-farm plots. Cowan says it’s a great tool for identifying varieties that close the row faster at 30 and 15-inch row widths. It also tells the story of what happens at 7.5 inches. It’s all insight growers can use to select optimum varieties, especially when it comes to managing weedy areas of fields and controlling disease, he notes.

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