Use Variable-Rate Practices to Optimize Input Efficiency

  • Mar 12, 2018
Variable-rate planting and applications can help you allocate your in-field investments more precisely and place inputs where they will be most effective. Here are some tips on creating variable-rate prescriptions to use this season.
1. Consult your trusted advisor.
Because there are many factors that go into creating variable-rate prescriptions, call on your agronomist for help to accurately create and effectively apply them. Talk with him or her about your goals, your opportunities and your current capabilities. Then the agronomist can get into the nuts and bolts of developing prescriptions, saving you time.
2. Place seed properly.
A professionally prepared field prescription will help you place the right seed in the right spot at the right rate. Essentially, the prescription is a map your planter monitor reads that lets it know which zones of your fields will get what rates of seed.
Using the R7® Tool by WinField United, your agronomist can create zones for different areas, with each aspect of your field comprising a “layer” of the prescription map. Those layers can include variables such as soil type, historical yield data and previous fertility rates. Taken together, these factors will let you know what plant populations to use in different areas to achieve the greatest potential outcome.   
3. Determine nutrient needs.
Soil sampling is a good start for any fertility program, and using historical yield data, in-season imagery or other available satellite imagery helps increase prescription accuracy. Work with your trusted advisor to determine optimal soil test timing. WinField United agronomists can identify available nutrients in the soil, which allows you to improve the nutritional profile of your fields.
4. Apply nutrients as needed.
Proper nutrient management can help you budget more appropriately, thereby optimizing your return on investment potential. For example, you may have an area in your field that requires more lime than another does. It doesn’t make sense to put the same rate of lime on both places.
Placing the proper amount of lime where it is needed and cutting back or eliminating it from areas that won’t provide you with better return potential helps you allot your nutrient budget more accurately. You can also use variable-rate prescriptions to allocate other inputs, such as fungicide applications.
Making your inputs count
No two fields are equal. The goal of any variable-rate prescription is to improve ROI potential by prioritizing input allocations. Talk with your agronomist today about how you can partner to create the prescriptions that work best with your field variability and your budget.