As farmers harvest their fields, they will collect a virtual mountain of data. They will put that data on maps and use them to manage better next year.
On these yield maps, it’s common to see a sand streak or weaker portion of a field. Traditionally, farmers had to ignore these weak spots because the planters were too big to dial in on a specific zone. Now, planters are more precise, actually allowing not only population to change by row but hybrid planted as well.
“With today’s technology, we can not only change population by the row, we can change hybrid by the row,” Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie recently told AgDay TV. “It’s brining our ability to manage zones in the field to a very tight level.”
In the video above, Ferrie demonstrates a field that has been planted with multiple varieties and explains why each variety was planted where it was.
“In this situation, we’ve got a soil change coming in at an angle across the field, and this planter is responding to it,” he says.
Ferrie explains that a 20ˈ wide sand lens running across a field can be managed by today’s precision planters.
“[With today’s planters], we can go across that sand lens, and as the sand lens goes through the planter, the planter will adjust not only population, but hybrid to it,” he says. “We can micromanage those zones through the planter itself.”
Ferrie says this strategy gives farmers the opportunity to tighten up zone management.
“We can farm the weakness out of those zones because we can trade the hybrid to something with a little more protection and change the population,” he says.