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Crop Quest Inc.'s Blog
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April 2014

Welcome to Crop Quest Inc.'s blog! Our blog will be updated monthly with information about nutrient management, as well as updates about the company and what we do. 

It's looking like spring is finally here to stay! As you get itching to get into the fields, here is something you might want to take a look at. For a number of reasons, you might want maps of your farms, as I detail in the attached .pdf document that is this month's newsletter.

One of the favourite reasons I have heard was from a client. They called me to ask if I could looks something up for them and do some mapping just for curiosity's sake. I did the mapping they were interested in, and when I went to drop it off - it turns out it was all to settle a disagreement between father and son!

While we certainly would love to help you out with any of your mapping needs or questions, you might be surprised with how much you can accomplish on your own, with just basic computer skills & a high speed internet connection (fair warning - if you are a Dial-Up internet user, you can certainly try to do this yourself, but the large aerial mapping files will be VERY slow to load).

Introduction to Mapping

A big part of Nutrient Management Planning is mapping – creating maps of farmsteads, building, fields, and sensitive features on farms. This is something I really enjoy doing, and can be pretty interesting as well. Besides nutrient management planning, mapping can be useful for farmers for other reasons as well.

• When you are renewing or updating your Insurance on your farm’s buildings
• When you are having soil testing done
• When you are considering an expansion
• When you purchase a farm and want to verify information (tillable acres, presence of tile drainage, wells, etc).
• Having someone do custom work & needing them to know where to go (believe me, last year alone I heard two stories first hand of someone baling the wrong straw or spraying the wrong beans!)

If all you want is a simple aerial imagery of your farm, with some measurements & markups – your municipality is a great resource! For the example below I will use one of the farms we own – just to show what you can come up with from a series of different resources.

Perth County GIS Website -
• Every county has some sort of mapping utility available free of charge online, just do a Google Search for “Huron County GIS” etc. To find yours!

I created the map below in about 5 minutes. This allows you to search by lot & concession, or street address to find your target farm or property. The aerial photography is either from 2010 or 2006 ( sometimes you can get a clearer image depending on which year you look at, which is fine as long as you haven’t made any construction changes in that time). Different county websites are slightly different to use – but many of them can be very useful to the average farmer!
Shown below (about 5 minutes)
• Googled “Perth County GIS”- clicked on the top search result
• Searched for & located the property, zoomed in to the front of the farm
• Measured the area of the front field – (item 1)
• Located the drilled well, marked & showed coordinates (item 2)
• Measured the barn & marked it. (item 3)

AgMaps – Geographic Information Portal-
This is a great province-wide resource for all sort of mapping. It can be a bit slower to load and refresh than the county websites, but it is also a great tool with some more information available.
Map below (5 mintues)
• Googled “LIO Omafra” and clicked on the top search term
• Clicked on “Agricultural Information Atlas”; clicked “I accept” to the Terms of use
• Searched for the Lot & Concession, located the farm
• Turned on the Parcel date & Environmental data under the “Layers” tab
• Clicked “Identify”; Clicked on the farm I was interested in
• It gave me the property tax roll number for this farm
• Shows me the soil type & drainage characteristics
• Shows me all drains & classification, as well as drainage connections
• Shows me the tile drainage records (whether it is drained & systematic or random)

Google Maps
• Searched for the farm by its street address & selected “satellite” to view the satellite photos rather than just a road map
• Have a basic aerial image of the farm – would work to indicate fields – not much else.
• Depending on your location, there are often much higher resolution images available – for this farm this is about as good as it gets – very blurry

There are also many free mapping options (my favourite is actually Arc GIS Explorer). This does involve created an account (FREE) to log in and create your maps. It has lots of functionality and gives great maps, but will take some playing around to become good at using it. Here is an example of using Arc GIS

Try these out! Let us know what you think and contact me with any questions you have about how to use these or how to find specific information for your operation, or for your clients.
Mapping is actually one of my favourite jobs - so if you have ANY questions, or are just curios about something I would be more than happy to help.

Enjoy the sunshine & working outdoors!
Amy VanStraaten

Communications & Media Relations
Certified Consultant / Planner