Precision farming system helps Cambs grower improve consistency - Andy Hutchison - Tillage magazine

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Two seasons of using Omnia to map and manage in field soil variations has already had a noticeable benefit on crop consistency at Daniel White’s 260ha farm near Bottisham.

Working with agronomist Andy Hutchison, soil analysis has been conducted over the whole farm, with results uploaded to Omnia to create soil zone maps used for variable rate seed and fertiliser applications.

“Soil is predominantly medium loam over chalk, but we’ve got some heavier land and patches of black fen soil, so there’s quite a variation in some fields, which can have up to four different zones, “Mr White says.

The seed rate for his mix of Group 1 and 2 wheats (including Skyfall, Crusoe, KWS Siskin and KWS Lili) is adjusted accordingly to soil type and likely establishment and typically varies from 300-450 seeds/m₂.

“Its our second year using variable seed rates and it has definitely made the establishment plant population more even across our fields,” Mr White says.

“Once you’ve got good, even establishment it helps take out the variability of managing the crop through the season.”

He is similarly impressed with the variable rate spring phosphate and potash applications, also based on application maps prepared in Omnia and transferred via SD card to the Trimble 750 system on the tractor and KRM Bogballe spreader.

“We used to blanket treat everything with 0-26-26 but now buy straight fertiliser products which are only applied where needed, based on soil sampling every four years and crop off take calculations each season.

“It’s worked very efficiently and because our soil indices are generally quite high anyway, we’ve found the spreader switches off completely in some parts of the field where additional fertiliser isn’t needed.”

Mr White adds “I’ve found it quite straightforward to learn how to use Omnia and I’m very happy with the results.”