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Variable rate seeding (VRS) can help maximize overall profits by selecting the best planting rates for each area of the field. VRS plans are most appropriate in fields with greatly varying soil composition or water holding capacity.

There are four basic steps to get started with a variable rate seeding program. The first step is to identify management zones within a field. Designate management zones based on soil type, yield map results over several years, and grower knowledge of yield history, cropping history, and general productivity of field areas.

After determining the management zones, select the seeding rate to be used in each zone. A standard recommendation is to select three to four seeding rates to plant within a field. Seeding rates should differ by an amount that is meaningful for the crop. For example, corn seeding rates need to differ by at least 3,000 to 4,000 seeds per acre.

To help determine seeding rates, DuPont Pioneer has a planting rate estimator app available in the tools section of the Pioneer website.

Once seeding rates are selected for each management zone, create each field prescription with Pioneer FIT Services mapping software. Manually implementing check strips or blocks to evaluate the productivity of each seeding rate is recommended. Pioneer sales professionals can help design field-by-field plans.

The final step is to upload the information to a variable rate controller. Set the parameters correctly in the variable rate controller, including the default planting rate and the offset distance between the GPS receiver and planter units. It is important to make sure the controller is set to record as-planted information.


  1. Identify Management Zones
  2. Select the Seeding Rate in Each Zone
  3. Create Each Field Prescription
  4. Upload the Information to a Variable Rate Controller