Here’s a crazy idea, and I can’t remember how it started. (time on my hands during sowing…?)
Since beginning farming I’ve been intrigued by the possibilities and scale of crop art, using different colours and textures within a paddock to create a visual effect, or using crop treatments to make it so. And when QR codes came along, AND I bought my first smartphone, here was something else to take one’s interest.
I also remember the enthusiasm of the DeVito character in Deck the Halls (movie) in wanting his house to be seen from space (think “Christmas lights”)
Disclaimer: I have little interest in crop circles, nor am I an artist, but have dabbled in writing names in crop stubbles. We also live under the Adelaide – Melbourne jet route, and appreciate how small our 1-200 acre paddocks look from that height.
Anyway, I came across this photo (at ottawaqrcode.com) of the qr code in the crop in Ottawa, (a qr code geoglyph) and I notice at the moment there are few others in Google images. What if we could create a bigger one? And what if we could do it without destroying or reducing a cash crop?
Well, we could. Easily. With a cover crop, which should have little impact on the following cash crop.
COVER CROP QR CODE.
Here’s how: 1. Choose the link (to what the QR code will link). Promote whatever you like. Be sure about “Why?”
2. Generate a code (using one of the various online generators available) Double check the code to make sure it works.
3. Plan it out on a paddock /farm scale. This is where CTF and straight lines come into play. It also examples the possibilities of VRT and paddock mapping. VRT programs can be written for organised-randomised trial plots anyway (isn’t there a name for that?) I know it sounds simple, considering I’ve never done it.
It seems we need 25 runs minimum, plus 4 on each side for borders, 33 runs.
4. Choose the method. Cover crops have a lot of scope – spp height, colour, texture. Sown or not sown. Sprayed out earlier and later, or not at all. Sprayed with different chemicals to alter the leaf colour. Slashed or rolled or cultivated. Painted or dyed. Varieties of sunflowers, amaranth, marigolds, millet and sorghum can grow different coloured flowers and/or leaves or seeds, (black, yellow, red, orange, white) Safflower, niger, sunn hemp for yellow. If you are going to sow everything, all it takes is a change in boxes/mixes. Keep in mind the changing colour from growing (green) leaf to flowering/heading and scenecing/dying, and how it looks against the ground and/or stubble.
Ultimately an image needs a certain contrast between the minimum 2 colours. So all we need is to go up and back like we normally do, but manually or automatically switch on and off for the contrasting patches. Or turn off and on, or lift/sink machinery as we travel.
5. If we go to this much trouble, we might as well promote it. Make sure the aerial photograph is relatively straight down, so that a smartphone can read it. Too much angle, like the one pictured, is unreadable with mine. (If anyone finds one which works, please do let us know.) Then make sure your photo is readable. Then put it online (hey, reply to this blog!)
Size: If your farm is a mile wide, and the stubble all looks similar, and you are going to CC everything anyway, you have scope for a mile-wide QR code. Is that big enough for you?
End result: IF you end up with enough contrast at one or many stages of the crop, AND it can be photographed or satellite – imaged from straight up, you could have the Guiness Book of Records / Biggest in the World QR Code, visible from space. Even if only temporary. The promotion itself becomes promoted; viral advertising. (so be careful what we wish for…)