There are many factors that influence emergence and maturity in a field which include but is not limited to the weather, nutrients, organic matter, salinity, moisture, and many other soil characteristics. Some factors we have no control over but others we can manage, and variable rate applications may be the answer to help influence some of these factors for the better.
Seeding rates and variable rates go hand in hand at CropPro. We believe that if you increase the seeding rate in areas with higher mortality this helps create a more even emergence and maturity at the end of the growing season. For example, in our zones 1/2, which are the highest and driest areas of the field (eroded knolls and hilltops), we know that these zones have higher mortality rates therefore in these zones, we increase seeding rates. At the other end of the spectrum are the depression areas of a field, which are zones 9/10. These areas are characterized by heavier textured soils, may flood, and may have salinity. In these zones, if we have one or all of these characteristics (verified by soil sampling each zone), we want to increase our seeding rate to counteract the characteristics that create higher mortality. Finally we have our mid zones that have very low mortality, in these areas we decrease the seeding rate as survivability is high and we don’t want an excess amount of plants competing with each other. With this strategy, we achieve an even plant stand count, as seen in figure 1 below, and we achieve our end goal which is an even maturity throughout the whole field.
When we customize seeding rates with our variable rate strategy, we start to see the benefits that come from having an even emergence and plant stand count. We can more accurately time our fungicide applications, resulting in a better grade that correlates to higher profits. Typically, with flat rate seeding, we are waiting for depression areas of the field to mature while the hilltops are passed the fungicide timing window. For example, fusarium fungicide application is a tight window and profit can be lost when waiting for one area of the field to come into the proper staging. Creating the even maturity through variable rate seeding can make fungicide spray time a much easier and quicker decision to make as you are spraying most of your field at the proper stage.
Another benefit to even emergence and maturity is at harvest time. When we have an even emergence, this makes for a much more efficient harvest. We can combat lodging and green depressions that cost time and money waiting for them to mature for pre-harvest applications and harvest. If we leave and wait on green depressions, they are at an increased risk for frost damage which results in decreased grain quality.
In conclusion, having even emergence and maturity has great benefits. Increasing the seeding rate in the areas that have higher mortality helps create this even emergence. As a result, the even emergence and maturity of the crop creates more profit and increases efficiency by applying fungicides at the correct staging to a higher percentage of the field.
Please call your local CropPro agronomist or visit https://www.croppro.ca/variable-rate to learn more about the benefits of SWAT MAPS and get one step closer to enjoying the benefits of even emergence and maturity with variable rate applications.