Field naming is one of the first steps in creating and managing your agronomic data. It’s also one of the biggest reasons data becomes messy and unorganized. Good client, farm, and field names are key to using your data for decision making – check out some of our helpful tips for success!
The beginning of all field profiles is the client – this is the person who owns the land. If you are a renter, using your landlord’s name as the client is helpful when it comes to sorting data for annual reporting. This can also help you shorten the list of fields in your display, since only the fields registered to that client will be visible. Don’t include things like the year, crop type, or product in your client name. When you include variables that change often, you’ll be creating a brand new client for each year and operation. For example, you’d have ‘Dad’s Corn 2015’, ‘Dad’s Beans 2016’, and ‘Dad’s Corn 2017’ – three separate profiles for the exact same field! On the other hand, if you just use ‘Dad’ as the client name, you’ll be able to keep all of your field maps under the same name every year.
Farm names are the next step to describing your field location. The farm should be a general area description, or can include a landmark that is close by. Just like with the client, you shouldn’t include changing variables in the farm name (i.e. years, crop types, or products). In some cases, you may have several fields that all belong to the same farm. Using one consistent farm name for all of those fields will help make analyzing your data quicker and easier. Good examples of farm names include things like ‘Grandpa’s Place’, ‘Schoolhouse’, the name of the nearest town, or the name of the county or township. The ultimate goal of successful field naming is to make it easier for you to track performance year after year, and the best way to do this is to keep things short and sweet!
The last, but most important, piece of field naming is, well, the field! This is going to be the most specific part of the profile name and should help clarify exactly which piece of farm ground you’re on. The field name is where we see the most mistakes made for data management, because it’s the one that most people put too many changing variables into. Even if you properly name your client and farm (like ‘Dad’s – Cass Farm’), including things like the year, crop type, or product in the field name will still lead to having a different field profile for each operation each year. So, instead of naming the field ‘Dad’s – Cass Farm – 2020 Corn’, try using something like ‘Dad’s – Cass Farm – West 80’. This way, you’ll be able to view every single year and operation of data you track under one field name (instead of a whole bunch). Plus, using words and area descriptions that are simple and familiar make it less confusing to describe the exact field you’re talking about.