Precision Farming in the Delta

Precision farming practices are really taking off. I told Wayne, “I really feel like I'm doing everything I can from the ground up.” So we worked on it and now I'm doing as much as I know below the surface. Micronutrients for some reason have just taken the Delta by storm. Last year a lot of people kind of played with it, and it's really getting going. With variable-rate seeding, the products are so much better that a lot of people are trying way more of it.

A friend of mine is doing variable-rate on every acre he's got. I'm not. I'm doing about half variable rate this year. People are doing a lot more of it now and have seen the benefits. There are a few people that are looking at it as, “I can save three bags of seed on this field.” With Wayne and I - we say, “What's three bags of seed? Yes, seed's is expensive. But what's three bags of seed?” We’re looking at it from a yield standpoint. You might go from beach sand on the upper end of your field to buckshot on the other side. I don't care what seed company you’re with; you can't plan for that. If 20% of the field's buckshot, all you can do is figure out what your best seeding rate is. Wayne and I started noticing that the lower plant populations did better on the heavier ground. So that's what I did this year.

When the soil type changed, and I said it's not a payoff, he asked why not. I write my own prescriptions, but I told him that the variable rate stuff is just not going to pay off. So, I can save three bags of seed or eight bags of seed on this field. So, he said, “Sure, but what's it going to yield?” I hadn’t thought about that, so he pulled out the yield maps, and sure enough we dropped the population and the lower end did better.

On my operation, we’re going at it more from a yield standpoint than from a seed standpoint. We’re going for the stuff outside the pivots. The stuff outside of pivots, every year when we dropped our rate - did better. So we're doing a lot more than we were just two or three years ago.