How to Create SMS Prescriptions from the DDMS™ Ag Tier

How to Create SMS Prescriptions from the DDMS™ Ag Tier

With the recent addition of the Drone Data Management System™ Agriculture Package, we are working on solutions for farmers to get the most out of their drones. There are a variety of tasks that drones can perform on a farm that go beyond simply looking from above. The Agriculture Tier now creates management zone maps compatible with Ag Leader SMS. These management zones close the gap between observation and action, allowing a farmer to utilize drone data to create prescription maps. By applying fertilizers and pesticides intelligently, farmers save time and money.


The DDMS™ Management Zones app exports a geotagged shapefile that breaks down a field into 5 tiers of health based on their NDVI value. The image above shows a raw NDVI image next to the resulting prescription map. Follow the steps below to create a prescription map from your drone imagery.

First, log into DDMS™ and go to the Map View of your most recent mission. Select the polygon icon on the Map Viewer window to create a new field outline. Then, click around the boundaries of the field or fields you want to create a prescription for. You may select multiple fields at once to export in Management Zones.


Name each area using the feature manager to the right. When that’s done, go back to the mission page and click Analyze Images. Find the Management Zones app, select the desired fields from the dropdown and click Start Processing.


When it’s finished, the shapefile will be available to download in  your mission’s download section. Next, open SMS and select the Read Files button. The popup below appears, choose to import from a generic source.


The import type is a Shape File (*.shp)


Find the shapefile downloaded from DDMS™ and import it to the management hierarchy in SMS. Select Generic as the data import type again.


When SMS gives you the option to assign columns from the shapefile, assign the column “cls” as the attribute “Target Rate (Units)” in the prescription group. Select the unit area you prefer to work with.


Add the shapefile to the appropriate field on your farm. Choose the type of product you will be applying, “NO Product” in this case.


When the shapefile appears in your management hierarchy, select it and click Create New Map in the preview window. The new map may appear as one solid color like the image below. In the attributes drop down to the right, select the Target Rate attribute.


With the Target Rate selected, you should now see the actual management zones with different colored tiers.


Next, create a new prescription layer under File -> New -> Prescription Layer.


Select the type of operation, application style and rate units.


Next, set the Ranges to the number of distinct rates you plan to apply. There is a maximum of 5 tiers of health exported from Management Zones, but you can create fewer and apply a rate to more than one zone. In this window, you are inputting only the rates you want to use. The colors don’t correspond to the colors from the original map.



With 5 rates entered, we can now apply each rate to a different zone from the Management Zones map. Select each rate entered in the previous window and select the desired zone in the Reference Layer Values box. The default values are 0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 but these are just placeholders, not recommended application values. Click Add after selecting each corresponding rate for all the Reference Layers until they are all used.



Now that the rates are applied to the proper zone, you can optionally click Edit Legend to make the colors of each zone correspond to its rate more naturally. Finally, click Save and select the appropriate product for this prescription’s application.



With the prescription saved, it can be used in SMS like any other prescription, including exporting to VRA equipment. All the equipment used in this tutorial is available as a kit, see the Agriculture Package at Event 38. Users with their own drone can also access the DDMS™ Agriculture Tier, please contact us for more information.

Want to stay up to date on our latest findings? Sign up for our newsletter!