VR Planting Review and using Climate Basic and Pro

Gary Suess, Precision Ag Specialist (507) 273-7043

Corn planting in our area is pretty much complete for 2015. Overall, the corn planting season went pretty good and most fields were planted into good conditions. However, just because the corn is planted doesn’t mean our worries are over. Now we can worry about the weather (too hot, too cold, too much rain, too little rain, wind – it never ends), and spraying for weeds, bugs and disease. Looking back at the corn planting, Progressive Ag Center had another large growth in Variable Rate Planting. Both the number of growers and number of acres that are VR planted increased. I think this is a great way for growers to maximize efficiency and profits across their farms. We can push the highest producing parts of the farm for more yield, while at the same time cut back on inputs on the challenging parts of your farm that are lower producing. By doing this, we can improve profits while saving on inputs costs as well. Another thing many VR planting customers use are check strips. We can put in several flat rate check strips into your planting prescription so you can compare the different strategies with a more conventional program.

All technology comes with challenges though. We did run into some issues with monitors not recognizing the planting prescription or the format it was in. The planting prescriptions we exported were good, but planting monitors can sometimes be challenging in the file format they like. Overall, these issues were handled and the prescriptions were planted just fine, however it can be really frustrating at the time it occurs. I believe this reinforces the message that, in the future, we need to continue to strive to get the planting prescriptions made and loaded on the monitor well ahead of the planting season. This way, if any issues pop up, we can get things straightened out before everyone is busy and time is short.

This year, Progressive Ag Center became certified dealers for the Climate Basic and Pro programs. Both these programs are in full use now. We have many growers using both platforms to monitor their fields on a daily basis. Climate Basic is a great way to have access to weather and other field level crop data to help you make production decisions. It’s interesting to talk with people after a rainfall to see how much rain the Climate program rainfall measured compared to their rain gauge.

Our Climate Pro customers are not only using the program to monitor the field level conditions anytime and anywhere, but also monitoring the nitrogen availability status in these fields using the Nitrogen Advisor. The Nitrogen Advisor allows growers to see field-level nitrogen supplies based on applications, crop stage, and weather; along with how much N crops will require. Given this information, growers can now decide whether a sidedress application of N will be necessary to maximize yield potential. Also coming very soon are the in-season scouting and vegetation maps. We will be able to use these maps to evaluate crop health and identify issues before they impact yield. We can also use these maps to prioritize scouting activities and save time by identifying which areas need your attention before heading to the field. Finally these maps can be used to get a new perspective on how this year’s decisions are impacting crops and get a head-start on planning for next year.

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