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Proven Profits from Precision Farming - Precise

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Following a season long trial on three split field sites across Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, agronomy firm Hutchinsons have shared their positive results. Andy Newbold found out more.

The trials were designed to answer the question, what are the benefits of precision farming? Based on 3 trials, with each sites management being split with one half as per the growers usual establishment and agronomy practice and the other using OMNIA Precision Agronomy to vary seed rates and inputs.

The work growing Winter wheat on all sites, revolved around being able lo financially validate the results post- harvest and analyse where the costs (and profits) could be found.

How was it done:

  • Analyse the seedbed visually, by walking the field immediately prior to drilling
  • Zone the field
  • Input into OMNIA and prepare the VR seed maps
  • Agronomist and grower review recommendation (and tweak if appropriate)
  • Input the seed maps from Omnia to the drill controller to vary the seed rates according to zones
  • Varying N on all sites (and P & K as well on one site)
  • Combining and yield mapping to produce the resulting data

In the split field trials. all inputs were applied all an even level, ie flat rate for the standard establishment 50% and the variable rate area had the same overall rate per Ha of seed and fertilizer applied.

The variance in seed rates between Omnia's recommended rate of 182 kg/Ha and the growers typical seed rate of 179kg/Ha was not statistically significant given the results.

The Lincolnshire trials were drilled using a Moore Uni Drill with and EDS variable rate controller, and the Leicestershire site was established with a Vaderstad Rapid.

Agronomy

THE RESULTS

By comparing variably drilled wheat alongside a farm standard rate on spilt fields and taking them to yield the statistically-valid work has proven that using Omnia Precision Agronomy can increase yields by an average of 0.6t/ha, worth £99/ha (based on wheat at £165/t), says Nick Strelczuk, precision technology specialist for Hutchinsons.

"In fact, in some areas, this went up to 1.4t/Ha or £240/Ha which is a significant increase and was achieved with lower costs of production."

"This is really exciting news for the industry as it is the first time that we have been able to prove the financial benefit of the features that using Omnia for variable rate applications offers to growers such as more even establishment and targeting inputs," he says.

2019 trials — Hutchinson's aim is for 30 trials this season; with 10 winter wheat trials already planted and another 20 planned the spring. Geographically spread through the main arable areas. In the spring the trials will be mainly spring barley, with some spring wheat, maize, and peas.