The foundation for variable rate planting is directly under foot. Farm Journal’s Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer discusses a few soil characteristics that can help determine a planting population in Episode 9 of Corn College TV Season 3.
Darker, heavier soil can handle greater populations because it has higher water holding capacity and exchange capacity with more organic matter. The lighter, sandier soils should be planted with a lower population that won’t require as much water or nutrients throughout the season.
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As with all crop management techniques, planting at the right population will prevent an emergency situation later in the season. Being proactive is the cheapest way to avoid a bad situation. Bauer notes, "When you’re trying to manage water, what are things that are in your control? You can’t control Mother Nature but you can certainly control population."
Learn more about how variable rate technology affects water management in Episode 9 of Corn College TV Season 3 below.