It's fair to say that optimum fertility helps produce optimum yields. Getting the right nutrients to the corn plant is imperative. Today’s highly accurate, site-specific farming technology is helping to do just that: Planting seed exactly where it can take the most advantage of all available nutrients.
For no-tillers, the general rule of thumb is to have at least 30 pounds of nitrogen available when the corn is planted, if not as starter fertilizer, then as a banded placement within 5 inches of the seed row. Row markers and line-of-sight driving can’t offer that kind of precision, but automatic guidance systems can, and Tony Vyn’s research is showing that this precision farming technology can help no-tillers and strip-tillers reap the rewards of precise seed placement.
Vyn, a professor of agronomy at Purdue University, has been using the RTK autosteering system, which provides up to 1-inch accuracy, in his research. RTK, or real-time kinematic GPS, takes previous versions of differential corrected GPS (DGPS) one step further. The RTK system works with a base station, either fixed or mobile, that provides a corrected satellite signal to tractor-mounted guidance systems. The system is more expensive than other autosteering systems, but it offers pinpoint accuracy.
Think 1-inch accuracy is important? Vyn’s research indicates that the highest levels of exchangeable potassium following corn are located within 6 inches to 7 inches of the old rows. So if you’re no-tilling corn on corn, using typical 30-inch rows and planting down the middle of last year’s rows…