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Tim Seifert’s move into variable-rate seeding began with his efforts to reach his maximum yield potential while minimizing input costs. “When I started variable-rate seeding, the costs of inputs were going up, and I had a lot of variability on my ground,” the Auburn, Ill., no-tiller explains. “I work a lot of different soils, and each soil type has its own characteristics and top-end yield potential.”
Seifert farms 2,400 acres in a corn and soybean rotation. All of the corn is strip-tilled, and some of the soybean acres are no-tilled. All the corn is variable-rate planted, along with a portion of the soybeans. The remaining soybean acreage is planted for seed production.
Seifert planted his first 100-acre field using variable-rate seeding technology in 1981. That one field, he thought, would be a good area to determine how variable-rate seeding would work on all his acres, and if variable-rate seeding would be worth the time and effort.
“This single 100-acre field has seven different soil types in various areas of the field,” Seifert says. “The ground was rolling, and I was having a problem with corn lodging at the top of the hills. I thought that there should be a way to cut back my seeding rate on the tops of the hills to cut down on lodging without sacrificing my yield in the entire field. But I really didn’t know what the optimum seeding rate would be.”
He says his yields weren’t sacrificed, and he ended up…