In the past year, farm-equipment manufacturers have released new technology that allows multiple hybrids to be planted in a single field.
Matching hybrids with specific “productivity zones” in each field could bring substantial profits, but laying the groundwork with hard data is essential.
If successful, a system like this would let us fine-tune our decisions about hybrid selection and field management.
As with any new technology, our biggest challenge is deciding how to implement it in a way that generates tangible results in the field and helps us increase profitability for our farm operations.
It will be crucial to determine which hybrids to plant, where to plant them, and what population to use.
This technology will most likely benefit fields where water-holding capacity and soil productivity vary the most, while fields that are very consistent may show less of an advantage to changing hybrids and populations.
To use multi-hybrid tools effectively, producers need to have a basis for determining how to select the appropriate hybrids overall for their farms, and which ones should be planted in different field areas.
Seed companies may have some answers based on soil type, but growers may have a hard time deciding if they’re using products from more than one company.
You may need to select a group of hybrids and plant them in a replicated plot on your farm, and sort out their relative performance on your different soil types.
One place to start would be to group your farm’s soils…