Ken Ferrie’s Top Tips for Variable-Rate Planting

January 20, 2011 10:52 AM

Tune in to episode 9 of Corn College TV if you’re considering variable rate planting this year. That’s where you’ll find Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie offering up tips and techniques to make the technology pay.

Ferrie says planning and preparation are the keys to making variable-rate work in the field. “First, a map has to built,” he says. “You need to figure out who will build that map—someone from your farm, a fertilizer dealer, a consultant?”
Ferrie recommends including the person who builds that map in any purchasing decision of technology components. This will help ensure all products are compatible, which is a big issue because of the variety of technology products and services available on the market.

Test drive the system before you head to the field this spring too. Ferrie says a driveway, an old runway or a grass strip are good places to test the planter. “Run it a month or more before planting and make sure that planter changes in real time the way we want it to,” he suggests.
“Product support is crucial,” Ferrie adds. “Can they support your purchase in the field? Ask people who are using the product if they are satisfied, and call the hotline number yourself to be sure they company is ready to help you in the field.”
To get the top tips for readying your planter for 2011 planting, attend one of the four Corn College Planter Clinics:
March 1; Columbus, Ohio
March 8; Lincoln, Neb.
March 9; Morton, Minn.
March 11; Davenport, Iowa
Register and learn more at

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