Information Management to Maximize Your Yields

Determining the Right Seeding Rate

By Mike Manning from Premier Crop Services

As the calendar turns to April, and the 2020 planting season nears, many producers are finalizing planting plans. Your planting operation (hybrid and variety selection, seeding rate decisions, and the execution of it all) will lay a critical foundation for your 2020 growing season.

Of all the fieldwork we do in a given year, planting is one operation we only have one chance to get right (assuming you’re not a fan of replanting). Aside from properly setting up and configuring the planter itself, one of the most important decisions growers can make is determining the best seeding rate for each of your hybrids and varieties.

Historically, and still common today, seed selection and seeding rate decisions have been based on a wide variety of available resources. These frequently include seed plot data, ag retailer/coop trials (often in conjunction with major seed suppliers), seed advisors, and ‘neighbor input’, as well as a variety of seed company rate calculators available online. While a diverse selection of resources are available, how do you know if these seeding rates are actually suitable for your farm?

In 2005, as GPS-based variable rate planting entered the equipment market, Premier Crop introduced the Learning Block™ concept. Learning Blocks are 2 – 4 acre blocks placed in specific areas of the field (unlike strip-trials), giving growers and advisors the opportunity to test and verify responses to different seeding (and/or fertility) rates in a low-risk, easily executable experiment (IE +/- 3,000 seeds/acre). Combined with Management Zone based VR seeding, these Learning BlockTM trials opened the door for growers to measure and build their own population response datasets on their own farm. Importantly, Learning Blocks, also provided insight as to where those population changes should take place within the field.

In 2016, Premier Crop Systems unveiled a new tool called Enhanced Learning Block™ (ELBs)*. Building upon the traditional Learning Blocks concept, ELBs allow for testing multiple rates within the same block, all while incorporating the hallmarks of traditional experimental design; randomization and replication. These randomized and replicated trials increase confidence in the trial results, which ultimately guide better decisions. Perhaps most important, growers and advisors can execute research quality trials, with their own equipment, and within each of their own fields.

How important is knowing the right seeding rate? Does it really produce any more yield? Does it really save me any money? Am I any more efficient than I was before? The examples below illustrate the importance of determining, and knowing, the right seeding rate for each hybrid and variety on your farm.

In this field, we have two ELBs, each testing four populations, and replicated 5 times within each block. Comparing the target rates to the as-planted rates, illustrates the equipment is very capable of executing the trials.

Reviewing the post-harvest analysis below, we instantly see the seeding rate had a significant impact on yield (for this particular hybrid, in this particular geography).

Does seeding rate impact yield? The yield difference from 32,000 seeds/acre to 35,000 seeds/acre is 11 bushels/acre!

 

“DOES PLANTING THE RIGHT RATE SAVE, AND/OR MAKE ME MORE MONEY?”

Dollars and Cents

Accounting for seed cost, and using $3.50/bu grain price, knowing to plant this hybrid at 35,000 seeds/acre v. 32,000 seeds/acre is a $29/acre decision!

38,000 seeds/acre is technically the winner in this trial. However, is the additional seed investment risk (3,000 seeds @ ~$9.40/acre), worth the relatively modest gain?

Also, we see that pushing too far, to 41,000 seeds/acre, results in ~$35/acre loss compared to 35,000 or 38,000 seeds/acre.

The examples I’m discussing come from an irrigated Nebraska corn and soybean operation that has successfully executed over 175 ELB trials since 2016. In this case, the grower likely has more research quality, hybrid specific population response data, generated from their own fields, than the seed companies.

You can start building your own knowledge base for your own farm by incorporating Enhanced Learning Blocks™, and working with a trusted Premier Crop Partner, or Premier Crop Agronomic Advisor. Aggregating your own ELB results can take your on-farm knowledge to the next level.

Contact your SciMax Solutions Specialist to test your seeding rates. Our specialists can help you build own ELBs in your own fields.

NOTE: ELBs can be used to test a wide variety of products including Fertilizer, Crop Protection, and Seed through a variety of application methods.

  • Dry Fertilizer Applicator
  • Planter
    • In-Furrow and starter – multiple rates or on/off
  • PRE and POST fertility
    • Sprayer, strip-till, coulter bars, drop nozzles etc.
  • Crop Protection – Ground Applie
    • Fungicide
    • Biologicals
    • Other yield enhancement products

Why You Should Use Farm Analytic Software

SciMax Solutions uses the power of analytic software from Premier Crop Systems to reallocate your input dollars into higher yields. To learn more, contact a member of our SciMax team today and check out the blog post by Premier Crop’s Kevin Kruize below! 

Do you get frustrated when you feel someone is biased towards a product, service, or certain brand? Biased information can end up being very frustrating and even costly to your operation. Now think about how you make decisions on your farming operation. Do you have any bias on how different fields respond to a certain seed, fertilizer, or crop protection product? Allowing your bias to persuade field decisions can be very costly and frustrating as well. Your knowledge of your own farm is invaluable. Using farm analytics can enhance your decision making by removing or challenging the bias with objective analysis.

I am guilty myself. It is easy to make assumptions and decisions based on previous experiences. However, using Premier Crop’s analytics platform, you can begin to dissect the different yield environments on your fields. “This means what you see…. completely different in the field across the road, fence-line, or even within the same field!”

WHERE DO I START?
You can start anywhere! Do you have computers or hard-drives full of unused files or binders full of printed maps? Organizing and analyzing this data, and using it to make more informed decisions could be the biggest ROI on your farm. You don’t have to be an expert on computers or an IT wizard, all you need is a trusted partner to help take the complexity out of your data so you can validate or challenge your own assumptions in order to optimize profit. You can view our Five Steps Guide to Get Started here.

WHAT ABOUT MY AGRONOMIC ADVISOR?
The traditional field agronomist is still a valuable resource for your operation, providing scouting services, and making product recommendations. The difference with an Agronomist and a Precision Ag specialist is an agronomist has years of experience scouting for and monitoring the physical characteristics of your fields. A Precision Agronomist can take those physical characteristics and visualize them over your field and compare them to see how ALL of the layers are working together. When you combine the two with a powerful farm analytics platform, you can really increase your Return On Investment!

I once had an experience working with a grower and his agronomist reviewing yield maps and grid sample data. During the discussion, the agronomist looked at me and said “You know, I have been scouting these fields for 20 years, and in one hour, you have just identified many of the key issues I have spent years identifying by presenting his data in an organized fashion and bringing these data layers together.”

YEAH BUT, DOES ALL OF THIS PRECISION AG PAY?
At Premier Crop we focus heavily on PROVING what you’re doing on your farm. We frequently encounter a situation where a grower has been frustrated with precision in the past. Their frustration is usually because there is not a good analysis of the precision practice implemented. One example we commonly see, and have proven, is an $100/acre swing in profit by yield increases and seed savings with variable rate seeding, simply by optimizing the seeding rate to unique areas of the field. The dollars that are left on the table can be shocking if you’re not implementing VR Seed and VR fertility practices, AND verifying “it works” by marrying your agronomics to the economics.

BRING IT ALL TOGETHER!
Implementing a farm management system that organizes your most important farm information in one place can be eye-opening at first. You might be surprised that your original biases/thoughts/intuitions may not have been as “true” as you thought. Premier Crop Systems helps simplify and visualize where to best spend your input dollar and how it can improve profits across all of your acres. Yield Efficiency is how much is left over after costs are subtracted from your revenue to spend on land and management. Below you will see our Yield Efficiency by Field across your farm. Do you really know what fields are making you the most money?

Premier Crop Systems is proud to be the leading farm analytics platform since 1999. We continue to advance and improve alongside our partners and growers on a daily basis. Together, we help you gain more insight to your operation for confident, and profitable decision making. We learn every day in every new environment we get to work in. Let us come alongside you to reduce the complexity and add another dimension so you can exceed your own expectations. Contact us now to schedule an information meeting.

 

Ready to get started? SciMax is here to help you use the power of analytics to make better decisions. Contact us today!

Save the Date! SciMax Regional Meetings

Save the dates, regional meetings for SciMax Solutions clients have been scheduled!

East Area
January 14, 2020
Britt Country Club
2360 James Ave – Britt
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

West Area
January 15, 2020
Milford Community Center
806 N Ave
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Central Area
January 16, 2020
MaxYield Tires & Auto Center
310 4th Ave NE – West Bend
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

 

Developing your High Yield Plan Plot Day

You are invited to join us at MaxYield’s Algona Learning Center Plot for a day filled with valuable agronomic insights to give you the best ROI for your farm! Our key agronomy and technology partners will be joining to answer your questions.

When: Thursday, September 5
Time: Registration at 9:30 a.m.
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Key topics include: 

  • Creating a plan for high yields
  • Benefits of SciMax Nitrogen
  • Behind the scenes plot walk – observing different management systems

Where: MaxYield Learning Center Plot
Kenny Grimm Farm
905 160th St. 
Algona, IA
42.995492 N – 94.278792 W

2019 SciMax Trip to Savannah, GA

Join SciMax Clients and Specialists on this trip to Savannah, GA from Wednesday, February 27th through Sunday, March 3rd.

Secure your spot on the trip ASAP!

Contact Rodney Legleiter  515-320-1678 or rlegleiter@scimax.com

Annual Learning Group Seminar

Please join us for the SciMax Annual Learning Group Seminar. The SciMax Annual Learning Group Seminar will be held in Emmetsburg this year instead of Des Moines. The layout of the meeting will be diffrent than in years past to try something new. We look forward to a fun and informative day!

January 29th
10am-4:30pm
The Shores at 5 Island
14 North Lawler Street, Emmetsburg

SciMax Regional Meetings

East Area
January 9th, 2018
Location: Duncan Ballroom
2337 Nation Ave, Duncan
9:30-1pm

Central Area
January 10th, 2018
MaxYield Cooperative Service Center
310 4th Ave NE, West Bend
9:30-1pm

West Area 
January 11th, 2018
Milford Community Center
806 N Ave, Milford
9:30-1pm

Mark your Calendars: Randy Dowdy Presentation

Randy Dowdy presentation

Thursday, February 15, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Shores at Five Island – Emmetsburg, IA
14 N. Lawler St.

 

Contact your SciMax Solutions Specialist today for more details!

SciMax Learning Group Seminar – January 26th, 2018

SciMax Learning Group Seminar
West Des Moines Marriot
January 26th, 2018

Below is the agenda for our annual SciMax learning group seminar.

Please RSVP by January 15th to your SciMax Specialist.

10:00 a.m. SciMax Welcome and Introductions

10:20 a.m. Robert Miller, PH.D – Potassium Importance and Nutrition

10:20 a.m. Women’s Session – Ellen Frank

11:45 a.m. Iowa Ag. & Government Update

12:15 p.m. Lunch in West Des Moines Ballroom

1:15– 3:00 pm Breakout Sessions ( Pick 3 during time)

1. Tire Tech Information: Brad Harris – Firestone
2. Nozzle Design, Weed Resistance Control Methods: Travis Legleiter, Assistant Ext. Prof University of Kentucky
3. Crop Modeling, Future Scouting Tools: John Jansen and Dustin Potts – The Climate Corporation
4. Fertility Update: Jon Zuk – Winfield United Agronomist

3:45 pm Panel Discussion

4:00 pm Ryan Raguse, Co-Founder and Chairman, Myriad Mobile

4:45 p.m Wrap up

5:00 p.m. Social Hour

6:00pm MaxYield Seed and SciMax High Yield Contest Awards

6:45 pm Dinner

7:30 pm Evening Entertainment: Casino Night/Outdoor Games

Save the Date: MaxYield Seed/SciMax Plot Tours

September 5th
MaxYield Seed Emmetsburg Research Plot
5-8PM

September 6th
MaxYield Seed Fostoria Research Plot
5-8 PM

September 7th
SciMax Plot Tour at Irvington Learning Center/Research Plot
10AM-Noon
1700 170th St Lu Verne, IA
Click here to see a PDF of the location.