Variable Rate Application
Published: 21 Feb 2012
Make Variable Rate Application Pay
Variable-rate application (VRA) of some inputs delivers cost benefits and improved yields. Before adopting VRA, growers can optimise their chances of better returns by running simple on-farm trials.
- When considering variable-rate application, question whether variation exists. The level and area of variability needs to be large enough to justify adoption.
- Varying application rates can be done manually or by using precision agriculture equipment.
- Obtain data to build a picture of the different management zones. Crop biomass, yield and soils information, plus a grower’s knowledge can be used to create zones.
- When managing different zones within a paddock, diagnose the constraint or factor that limits crop yield. On-farm trials can help.
- Prioritise lifting the yield potential of constrained soils with ameliorants before adjusting nutrient inputs.
- The return from varying rates can change from season to season.
- Keep on-farm trials simple: stick to one or two treatment differences and make the size difference between treatment rates large. Consider your equipment capability in the trial design.
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