Prescription writing, 2021

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I have finished the writing of “seeding prescriptions” for the planting of soybeans.  Today, I’m writing the prescriptions for the application of anhydrous ammonia, our nitrogen source for our corn crop.  These prescriptions are composed in a manner very similar to the way the seeding prescriptions are written.  I assign a rate to each soil type.   I utilize a wider range of rates for nitrogen than for seeding:  In seeding, one of 3 rates is assigned each soil type, but with nitrogen, I use 5 different rates… each one based on the soil’s innate productivity.  In that way, we can pare back the rate of nitrogen on less productive soils, and thus reduce our cost.  A heavier rate is used on the most productive soils.  This is backwards to the soybean seeding rates.  It is counter-intuitive for soybeans.  For that, you reduce the population for the highest producing soils, and plant them thicker on the less productive soils!

I use the John Deere Operations Center program for this task.  Embedded within OpCtr is a complimentary program called “Agrian”.  Agrian calls upon OpCtr for the field boundaries and soil type maps.  After calling up the field and soil map, I can assign a rate of N to each soil type.  After that, you just hit the ‘save’ button!  And after the maps are written, I mark them in the Files page of OpCtr, and then send them off wirelessly to the screen in the JD 9520R tractor.  The prescriptions will be there waiting to be called up by John when he enters a field to apply anhydrous ammonia.

Here are my resources as I begin to write prescriptions. A list of farms on the left, and a list of the soil types on each farm on the right…

Here is a little video of the process for one field, after I have called up the field to Agrian.

Here, I transfer the files wirelessly to the JD 9520R tractor.

…and then in the tractor, I import the files.

The prescriptions are one part of our use of what is called ‘precision farming’.  It tailors this expensive input more precisely.


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