Amp Up Your Precision Ag

Feb 14, 2024


precision ag and variable rate inputs
Technology driven variable rate (VR) applications of crop inputs are the core of precision ag. Growers can amp up their precision ag engagement with VR seeding as well as VR fertilizer and chemical applications.
 
Federated uses the FieldAlytics® app to collect data, map fields, and create precision ag prescriptions (Rx). With harvest data, grid soil sampling, and field mapping, many Federated growers use VR for custom fertilizer applications – especially nitrogen – applying nutrients at the precise levels in precise field locations. The Rx for VR seeding varies similarly to those of VR fertilizer applications.
 
Rod Gustafson, manager of Federated’s Albertville location said, VR seeding “should help the profitability for the whole farm” by planting higher seed populations where the soil is rich and “backing off to lower rates of seed” where the soil is less fertile.
 
With corn, “VR seeding might bump up seeding rates by 1000 seeds per acre” in nutrient-rich soils. It’s about “maximizing the productivity of the soil,” said Gustafson. (Soil productivity, which is highly dependent upon soil organic matter, is hard to build.) 
 
Gustafson noted that seed genetics come into play, too; not all genetics do well with varying seed populations (your Federated Agronomist can tell you which genetics to consider for VR seeding). Additionally, it’s important to note that higher seed populations may affect nitrogen needs; VR fertilization addresses that.
 
In soybeans, VR seeding can help address disease issues. For example, once a particular area of a field has been identified as susceptible to white mold, VR seeding makes it possible to lessen the plant population (and therefore minimize the plant canopy) to help mitigate white mold.
 
“The most important information [for any precision ag application] comes from the growers,” said Gustafson. “They know where the good and bad areas of their fields are.” Thus, farmers can be the Federated Agronomist’s best resource when developing precision ag plans.
 

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