The growing number of VRS-enabled planters and widespread, on-farm use of GPS technology make it easier than ever to use variable rate seeding prescriptions on your fields. Every year, more farmers are using this prescription seeding approach to vary corn seeding rates. Growers using Variable Rate Seeding (VRS) technology can expect it to maximize overall profits by increasing yields, as well as maximize the value of their seed investment, by selecting the best planting rates for each area of the field.
There are several steps involved with setting up a variable rate seeding program. The first step is to identify management zones within a field. All American Co-op uses our GrowMor program to create and implement these management zones for planting. Some of the sources of data that we use to create the management zones include:
- Yield Data History can be the best source to establish effective management zones
- Crop Productivity based on soil type data
- Grower knowledge of yield and cropping history, farm improvements, and general productivity of the field
- Remote imagery – NDVI, bare soil, and crop vegetation
When establishing management zones, we do not use a cookie-cutter approach. We strive to individualize the seeding prescription to the unique properties of each field. Once establishing a management zone for the field finishes, our agronomists and seed specialists meet with growers to evaluate the prescribed management zones. The grower combined with All American Co-op agronomist’s knowledge of the fields are critically important to help fine tune the seeding prescription so it can be as successful as possible.
After establishing the management zones, a seeding rate is selected to use in each zone. A standard seeding prescription contains three to four seeding rates within a field. Using these different planting rates, we can push the highest producing parts of the farm for more yield, while at the same time cutting back on inputs on the challenging parts of your farm that are lower producing. By doing this, we can improve profits while saving on input costs.
Once seeding rates are selected for each management zone, the next step is to create the seeding prescription in our GrowMor program. Many VRS Prescription Seeding customers will use check strips. We can include several flat rate check strips into your planting prescription so you can compare different precision strategies with a more conventional program.
Finally, the seeding prescriptions are exported out of the GrowMor software and then uploaded to a variable rate controller. Each brand of controller has a specific set of parameters and requirements in order to plant the prescription files properly. The GrowMor program provides the flexibility to create seeding prescriptions for all brands of variable rate controllers.