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The Most Popular Variable Rate Applications on the Farm

The Most Popular Variable Rate Applications on the Farm
Do you know which agricultural technologies have the fastest adoption rates among Indiana Master Farmers? Play 'Farmer Feud' and find out.

Remember the TV show Family Feud? One-hundred members of the audience would be asked a question, and two teams take turns guessing the most popular answers to the question. You may still be able to catch Richard Dawson, the show's very first host, in action on game show networks.

But how about trying a different variation – "Farmer Feud" – based on 68 Indiana Master Farmers who responded to a recent survey. One major goal of the survey was to get a feel for which new technologies are being adopted on farms, and how quickly.

It's your turn to play. Here's your question: Name things on the farm which you would apply using variable-rate technology.

Common practice: Varying the rate of lime and dry fertilizer has become common, and two-thirds of the farmers in the survey say they do both.

Since you're a farming veteran, you know that means which things are applied at one rate in some places in the field, and another rate elsewhere, with the rates being controlled by computer programs pre-loaded with instructions and tied to a GPS satellite signal.

Related: Caution on Variable Rate Seeding

OK, what's your top answer on percent basis? If you said variable rate lime, you've got an answer that's on the board. It's the top answer, at 66%, meaning roughly two-thirds of the farms in the survey apply lime using variable rates.

What's your next answer? Survey says: variable rate phosphorus and potash. At 65%, it's right there with applying variable rate lime. Obviously applying variable rate fertilizer and lime has become mainstream.

There are still three answers on the board. Choose from variable-rate nitrogen applications, varying rate of seed planting corn, or varying rate of seeding soybeans on the go. Which answer is the next most popular?

On these farms it's applying nitrogen by variable rate, at 37%. That means more than a third of these farms vary rate of nitrogen across the field.

Now the real cliff-hanger. You might think seeding corn at variable rates would be next, but it's not – it's fifth in this survey at 19%, or about one in five. Instead, just over one-third of these farmers say they vary the rate of soybean seed across the field.

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