Tractor Time Daily is based on the ability of a soil to support field operations of various kinds. Several factors are considered for each field including soil characteristics, precipitation events and amounts, soil mechanics and physics, extraction of water from the soil via plant removal, wind and solar radiation, and finally the type of field operation to be conducted.
The soil type and its natural drainage are some of the most important factors in predicting the Tractor Time status of the field. Each soil type can hold and drain a certain amount of water over time. Setting a tile system in Morning Farm Report using Field Story means that the system works as intended and drains water, which affects Tractor Time and other products.
The landscape also plays a role in a soil’s ability to support traffic. Morning Farm Report® uses the various soil types within a given field to make calculations as well as computing fieldwork traffic support conditions for poorly drained low spots. An example is shown in Figure 1 comparing the primary soil to the wet spot soil for fieldwork status.
Precipitation events and amounts must be considered, along with the expected removal of water from the soil via leaching rates, expected plant uptake, or evaporation from the soil surface. These are complex calculations, which are somewhat generalized for the predicted crop stage, but more finely tuned for solar radiation and potential evapotranspiration.
Finally, the weight of the tractor and equipment ‘footprint’ are considered. Tractor Time displays Morning Farm Report “indicator cards” showing the tire pressures that are expected to be the best fit to prevent excessive soil shear or compaction. Green, yellow, orange, red, light blue, and dark blue cards provide users an indication of probable conditions in each field up to two weeks in advance (Figure 2). Because localized conditions vary greatly from day to day (and sometimes hourly), cards are updated daily and synchronized with hourly Tractor Time.