May 19, 2019

Is Multi-Hybrid Planting in Your Future?

20150504_maxyield_238 (1024x681)If variability in your fields is costing you bushels and dollars at harvest, multi-hybrid planting may be part of the solution.

Multi-hybrid planting—placing specific hybrids and varieties at optimum zones in the field—takes precision farming to a whole new level. It’s also taking SciMax Solutions to a whole new level, thanks to a unique partnership with WinField® in 2015.

“We already know where specific hybrids should go, based on SciMax data, the Answer Plot® database, and WinField’s R7® precision agriculture tool,” said Peter Bixel, SciMax Solution’s team leader. “Now we have the technology to make it happen.”

In the spring of 2015, SciMax Solutions Specialist Rodney Legleiter used a John Deere 1770 center-fill planter with v-Set Select multi-hybrid planting technology from Precision Planting on nearly 1,400 corn and soybean acres on 10 SciMax clients’ farms.

While the SciMax and WinField teams are still analyzing the data, initial results are exciting. “Through our field scouting this past summer, we observed that plant growth and development were dramatically different when we switched to the ‘incorrect’ hybrid in each zone, such as putting an offensive variety in a defensive zone,” said Keaton Krueger, an agriculture technology specialist with WinField Solutions. “Our preliminary hand yield estimates were very promising, showing that across all zones we were seeing the expected yield separation.”

Data-driven process offers simplicity
Multi-hybrid technology provides farmers with the ability to change the seed hybrid they are planting as the planter moves through the field. Instead of selecting an average seed variety for use across an entire field, seed hybrids can be selected and automatically planted to suit different field management zones.
“We learned a lot with the 2015 multi-hybrid planting project,” said Krueger, who cited:
• Ease of use. The multi-hybrid planting prescriptions created in WinField’s R7 Tool worked with the planter and monitor flawlessly.

• Simplicity. WinField’s approach to characterizing hybrids in the Answer Plots worked well with the creation of multi-hybrid prescription maps. “Allowing the data to drive the process made it simple to plan where to place each hybrid and what rate to apply,” Krueger said.

• The power of partnerships. MaxYield is well-prepared to execute new, cutting-edge practices, Krueger said, thanks to their leadership in the ag technology sector and extensive experience with variable-rate seeding. “We were very impressed by MaxYield’s ability to find growers willing to learn about this new technology together,” he noted. “We were also impressed by how efficiently MaxYield planted all of the growers’ fields.”

While SciMax is interested in multi-hybrid planting for corn, the technology might be especially useful to boost soybean yields. “With the pH, disease, and soybean cyst nematode issues we have throughout northern Iowa, we think multi-hybrid planting might have a significant impact on soybean yields,” Bixel said.

Gaining a competitive advantage
Going forward, the multi-hybrid planting project can help growers gain a competitive advantage. “Producers want to know how this technology works,” said Bruce Zwanziger, a WinField area sales manager. “Our shared experience helps all of us leverage our strengths and learn together.”

This is important as technology continues to evolve rapidly, added Krueger, who looks forward to helping growers implement technology more effectively. “Our partnership with MaxYield is a perfect example of why the cooperative system is as successful and strong as it is today.”

SciMax will share the 2015 results from the multi-hybrid planting trials during grower meetings this winter, Bixel said. “Our goal is to stay two to three years ahead of the competition and see more in your fields.”

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