Focusing on Variable-Rate Technology

November 10, 2012 02:43 AM
Focusing on Variable-Rate Technology

There’s nothing like a drought to make it crystal-clear that we can never walk away from a crop. As I write this, Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie is harvesting our last 2012 Farm Journal
Test Plot in Illinois. The yields tell the story for soybeans and corn.

The fortitude to stay focused on the agronomic fundamentals—even while a historic drought clenched parched fields in its grip—meant a soybean yield bump of up 15 bu. per acre. Continuing to scout and spray spider mites at the right time netted a return on investment that was easily $200 per acre.

The key, of course, is stripping the emotion out of agronomic decisions. That’s easier said than done. The same is true for targeting management zones—to both compensate for and leverage variability in fields.

Accomplishing these things can mean a big leap in profitability—as much as $500 per acre in highly variable fields. That differential applies to all sizes of operation. In today’s highly  competitive and volatile environment, it is critical to capture that extra revenue.

This reality is what has driven us to offer a one-of-a-kind event this winter: a Farm Journal Profit College that focuses on deploying variable-rate technology (VRT) on both the agronomic and  business sides of the operation. Ken, Farm Journal columnist Moe Russell and Top Producer columnist Chris Barron are teaming up on March 12 to host a training that walks through VRT; how to set up and execute management zones in fields; and how to translate that into improvements on the business side.

It promises to be a day that makes you money, year after year.

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