We are a few months away from the 2013 corn planting season but it is time to start thinking about the opportunity to vary the seeding rate. If you are equipped with the capability to vary seeding rate at planting it will pay in most situations. Often times the seed savings is minimal but the increase in yield potential can be several bushel. Increased in yield potential can be seen in low and high yielding areas of the field. Increases of only a couple bushels mean a lot of additional revenue at today’s market prices.
I believe that variable rate seeding will pay in both irrigated and dryland systems. In the past where we have done variable rate seeding we have increased yield on average about 5% by matching the correct seeding rate with each ‘yield potential’ zone. A lot of data can be used to create prescription maps but perhaps the best is past yield history and producer knowledge. One thing that is important to do is put check strips out at several locations within a field so at the end of the year we can go back and evaluate yield response to population. This information can be used in the following season to fine-tune the prescription map. Most times producers know what their ideal population range is but it may change from year to year depending on the hybrid you are planting. If you are interested in variable rate seeding please let us know. There is potential for variable rate seeding with other crops as well. We will discuss some of those in later blog entries. Prices typically range from $1-4/acre depending what data is available and how we delineate zones.