Variable Rate Application/Seeding
The ability to vary seeding rates across the field with some of the newer planters is another reason growers are interested in participating in the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network plant population study. With the rising cost of seed, there’s a lot of interest in reducing seeding rates per acre — shaving them if you can — without hurting corn and soybean yields.
With farms becoming more reliant on GPS technology, the opportunities to more precisely apply crop inputs are expanding.
John Horter, Andover, S.D., is going to be varying corn seeding and fertilizer rates again this spring.
Ground-based, canopy-reflectance sensors are effective at detecting nitrogen stress in growing corn and other crops. But currently there is what Richard Ferguson calls a stalemate in the adoption of the sensors in variable-rate application systems.
Technology can be great when it saves money and places inputs precisely. Eric Fuchtman of Creighton and his father, Clifford, have integrated technology into their cropping system, utilizing 20 years of soil test results for nitrates to vary the rate of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer applied over the 1,000 acres of corn they raise.
With seed costs rising and technology allowing growers to easily vary seed planting rates within their fields, many growers are interested in doing replicated strip trials on plant populations to see what would give them the best return on their investment. Yield and profit are keys in the decision-making process when growers are determining their planting rates.
Creighton farmer David Condon began adopting precision tools in 2003 with a yield monitor in his combine. That initial installation began a progression of new tools that have saved input expenses and placed other inputs where they are most likely to increase production and improve profits.
To better manage nitrogen applications, Tom Snider Jr. first went the split-application approach: preplant anhydrous ammonia with a strip-till pass, followed by a small dose in the starter at planting, and then a final sidedress application. “I don’t apply nitrogen in the fall at all,” says the McCool Junction producer.
Steve Scherr is excited to be offering ProfiZone in the Dakotas.Scherr is a farmer, cattle producer and president of AgVenture/Scherr Seeds, Roscoe, S.D. ProfiZone is a precision farming consulting service developed by AgVenture, an independent seed dealer network that Scherr Seeds is part of.
Variable-rate planting is becoming a fairly standard practice in corn. It’s a new concept in sugarbeets.
Gary Doerr and his wife, Liz, of Creighton have been raising hogs for years. They recently found a way to combine high-tech tools they were already using in crop production to improve how they spread hog manure over their crop fields.
Because of the heat, frequent dry spells, low-humidity and high-evaporation conditions in northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska, farmers like Dietrich Kastens need to harvest as much “free” water as possible. At Kastens Farms in Herndon, Kan., where only 21.5 inches of rain fall annually, everything is about effective use of precipitation in this predominately dryland operation.