Select Germplasm, Hybrids and Precision Placement
Just as crossing inbred lines creates a more productive hybrid, Monsanto is bringing a triple cross of technologies to the field in hopes of taking that hybrid's productivity to a new level.
Photo courtesy MonsantoVariable rate technology (VRT) is gaining traction with FieldScripts from Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems. Full-service ag retailers and seed dealers involved in the effort may see their own productivity jump. Dubbed FieldScripts, it is the first product released by Monsanto's Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) research platform. It involves more precise hybrid recommendations, precision seed placement and variable rate technology (VRT) planting. This coming season, 46 Ground Breakers dealers like Jamie Brand and Agriland FS, Winterset, Iowa, will put the concept to the test.
"We hadn't worked with VRT planting maps in the past, nor had we had more than minimal involvement with Precision Planting's technology (Monsanto's recent acquisition)," said Brand. "Different people based VRT maps on different things, but we knew there had to be more components to them. When we saw the in-depth science behind FieldScripts and the process and equipment that matches it, only then did we get excited about VRT planting. FieldScripts could take us to the next level of yields, something we didn't think VRT planting had yet done."
CHALLENGES TO GETTING IT OFF THE GROUND
Although VRT planting recommendation is a growing service for many retailers, it certainly hasn't kept up with the availability of VRT planters. "Field research suggests that while 60 percent of planters in the field are VRT capable, only about half of them or less are being used for that purpose," said Dave Rhylander, FieldScripts marketing lead. "Some farmers, no doubt, have used VRT planting and seen yield improvements. However, from what we've seen, others lack confidence in building a prescription, or if they are using VRT planting, they aren't seeing yield improvements."
Rhylander likened the use of VRT planting to no-till soybean drills. "The no-till drills were out there, but farmers couldn't get them to work until they had Roundup Ready technology that gave them the weed control they needed," he said. "We are using science to build better prescriptions for seeding rates that will give them confidence."
That science includes in-depth knowledge of how the company's DeKalb hybrids react to a wide variety of field conditions. Gathering that knowledge affects how those hybrids are evaluated. Test strips of 50 feet have long been the industry norm, with a tendency to select optimum spots for test strips. DeKalb now puts its hybrids through FieldScripts testing with 1,000-foot strips in multiple field environments.