I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time figuring out how much fertilizer and/or seed I need for my fields. With the price of seed and fertilizer being high these days, I wanted a more accurate estimate of the amount of material I really needed. If you have a similar problem or just need to know how big a particular area is, there is an easy way to do that from the comfort of your home. Google Earth is a free download that has a lot of neat features; one of which allows you to measure any area you choose. After you download it to your computer, you will see something like this.
Up in the top left corner you will see a search bar where you can type in your city or address. For this example I’ll use my hometown of Cushing.
When you click the search button it will zoom in and drop a pin in the center of Cushing. You will be able to see roads and landmarks, and it allows you to click and drag to the exact area you want to measure. For our example, I’ll pick a random field north of town by the river and click and drag until I’m over that area.
Now you can zoom in using the plus and minus bar on the right, and drag then to get the field in the center of your screen.
Now that we have our field all zoomed in tight where we can see it, we just need to activate the measuring line. Up in the top tool bar you’ll see an icon that looks like a ruler.
Click on the ruler and this dialogue box will come up. You’ll have some choices, and I will choose line since I have a rectangular field and I want to know length and width for acres. Path would allow you to plot several points around an area and would give you that distance.
Next, with your mouse click at one end of the field, then move it to the other end and click, and you will have your length.
The yellow line represents the area you have chosen to measure; in this case it’s 2502 feet.
Now we need a width, and we are almost finished measuring our field (in the 100 degree heat: fighting tall grass, mosquitoes and a roller wheel or measuring tape). Whew, I need a glass of tea!
Click at both points as before, and we have our width of 740 feet. Now all we have to do is multiply 2502 x740, which is 1,851,480 square feet and then divide that by 43,560 square feet per acre, which gives us 42.5 acres in this field. As trees grow or streams change course (or if you rent a lot of land like I do) this can be a very handy tool, and it’s all free to use. How does that old saying go… measure twice, buy the correct amount of seed once? Or something like that.