If your farm is one soil type from end to end, you can feel free to skip this post. Of course, unless your farm is only 20 feet square, it likely contains several soil types and textures overall and in each field. The concept of managing each soil type or resulting management zone is not new — it’s essentially what the variable rate/precision agriculture concept is built on — however the idea of planting a specific variety or hybrid per management zone is a recent development under evaluation.
Jason Webster of Becks Hybrids spoke at the recent FarmSmart conference about the significant implications of not just corn hybrid selection, but matching two or more hybrids to field management zones and being able to plant them on-the-fly.
Hear more: For more on the Kinze multi-hybrid planter click here.
The key concept is built on what farmers already know by sight — there are low and high yielding zones of each field. Yield maps, generated from a GPS-equipped combine are common enough (or easily obtainable starting now), and that’s all you need to begin mapping these management zones to create prescriptions for planting rates, varying fertility, or, when the planter is equipped for it, planting more than one hybrid per field.
Webster explains in this video the research trials that have been completed on the concept, what’s to come for 2014 and the very real profit difference (or profit risk!) of varying corn hybrids by yield potential.