Thinking Data First: A Case Study In Multi-Hybrid Planting

Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter
Ohio grower Jim Case recently invested in FARMserver, Beck’s Web-based precision data management software, along with the Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid planter, to help him choose the best hybrids for his fields.

Delaware, OH-based grower Jim Case and his irreplaceable Farm Manager Nate Long — along with Beck’s FARMserver Field Advisor Mike Hannewald — make for a great case study in a team of stakeholders making things happen in the Big Data world, as PrecisionAg learned recently after meeting with the guys over coffee and yield maps at Case’s cozy dwelling alongside the banks of the winding Olentangy River, just north of Columbus.

Case, who, yes, is a big fan of red equipment, farms 1,200 combined corn and soybean acres — mostly in small fields scattered around Delaware County — and began his 2015 multi-hybrid planting journey with a sizeable up-front investment by bringing in the only Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid (MH) planter in the state (other than the one that sits in friend to PrecisionAg.com & Ohio State Extension educator John Fulton’s shed).

The investment proved a success for Case, who got started in precision ag back in 2005 with a lightbar and eventually progressed to establishing a local Central Ohio RTK network with other area growers, as the second-generation farmer made enough in yield increase in the first year to completely offset his initial out-of-pocket. Getting hooked up with Hannewald and the Beck’s software and support team also helped make a difference, according to Case.

“Before Mike came along Nate and I were having some issues with deciding what type of data to use, should it be soil type, or field typography or yield data, or some combination of the three?”

FarmServer Field Advisor Mike Hannewald
Beck’s FARMserver Field Advisor Mike Hannewald shows one of Jim Case’s multi-hybrid planting maps.

So Case made the leap and jumped on board with Hanne­wald. FARMserver, Beck’s Web-based precision data management software suite, was chosen to store, sort, process/normalize, and visualize the data.

Looking back, another crucial piece of the puzzle that came into place was Hannewald convincing Case to keep things as simple as possible in the first year.

“Keeping it simple, a simpler approach, it just made sense in the first year,” said Hannewald. “If you pile too much on that first year, they can get discouraged. Jim had almost 10 years of yield data we could’ve used, but we decided to go with a four year base for that first year, with his 2012 data — which was a drought year — as kind of a worst case scenario layer,” he explains.

Analyzing The Data

From there, the team loaded Jim’s historical yield data into field maps and began analyzing the pretty pictures with Long, Case’s farm manager who possesses a great deal of contextual knowledge about his fields, such as the location of low spots and poor draining areas that typically yield poorly.

From there came the most important part: Choosing the hybrid types that would be placed throughout Case’s fields.

“Us three as a team, along with some seed folks from Becks, we spent about half a day mapping fields and drawing up the management zones, figuring out how many acres should be planted with an offensive variety (high yielding), and how many acres we plant with a defensive (yield holding),” Case explains.

In actuality, the team decided to go with two different pairs composed of four hybrid varieties, one pair being early maturity and one pair being late maturity.

“And one of the hybrid pairs pretty much nailed it,” beams Case.

A few things the team found out after analyzing the 2015 numbers were that seed populations — not just hybrid type — made a big difference in yields, as did many other factors such as grain moisture at harvest time, tillage, etc.

“We’ve found that it’s really the little things all along the way that make the biggest difference (in yield),” recalls Case. “Attention to detail is huge, we try to be very particular in everything we do, and Nate, that’s where he really steps up in a big way for me. This was the first year we didn’t strip-till — we no-tilled — and that was a call Nate made that I was admittedly very wary about, but the yields came through.

“We like to say, ‘there’s no silver bullet, its silver buckshot’.”

“It was just a big learning experience,” adds Hannewald. “Multi-hybrid planting, it’s not just a new planter or new monitor — it’s a new cultural practice, a new way of farming, and everything from the seed you buy to what you do with tillage and cover crops is going to make a big difference.”

Accurate placement of management zones is another variable that fell just right for Case in 2015.

“Success happens with good management zones,” says Hannewald. “And Jim had 92% good zones (last year). How do we measure zone quality? Well basically if what we thought in the spring was high yielding, if it yields high in the fall, then that’s a good zone.”

Another aspect of FARMserver that Jim and Nate agree fits their operation to a “T” is the ease with which the system lets a user set up test plots. The two ran over 45 test plots this year and plan on doing more of the same in 2016.

Speaking of 2016, the team plans on looking at implementing a soil type data layer, or perhaps aerial crop health imagery, as well as change up the hybrid types again, all in the name of placing the right seed in the right area of the field for righteous yields.

“Becks has a lot of knowledge that we haven’t even scratched the surface on yet, so we plan on tapping into more of that,” adds Hannewald. “In farming we can’t control the weather, but the technology is there for you to control almost everything else.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment on “Thinking Data First: A Case Study In Multi-Hybrid Planting

  1. Been watching this tech coming for years now, so happy we are getting there. Who is leading the genetics studies and the breeding for drought tolerant corn and soybean??

Case Studies Stories
In cab
Case StudiesStudy: Ag Tech Investments Double In 2015 Despite U.S. Farm Slump
February 19, 2016
Investments in agriculture technology startups surged to a record $4.6 billion in 2015 despite a steep drop in U.S. farm Read More
Case StudiesWECO Electronic Fruit & Vegetable Sorter Case Study
February 5, 2016
The Problem Woodside Electronics Corporation (WECO) manufactures and services electronic fruit and vegetable sorters used by food processors to improve Read More
Southern States grower in cab
Case StudiesStudy: Technology Convergence Enabling Precision Agriculture
January 11, 2016
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Technology Convergence Enabling Precision Agriculture (TechVision)” report to their offering. Precision Read More
Case StudiesPrecision Ag Tools Enhancing Profit, National Corn Study Shows
July 29, 2013
New research of corn growers report payback for the precision ag technology investment outweighs the cost. Read More
Trending Articles
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA President
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Education and Big Data
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
Robotics AGCO Fendt Guide Connect
Market ImpactReport: Ag Robots And Drones May Be A $10 Billion Market By 2022
September 7, 2016
Robots and drones have begun to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. In fact, the IDTechEx Research report on Agricultural Read More
SDWG Bret Weisenburger
BusinessMZB Technologies, Climate FieldView Announce Data Integration for 2017 Season
September 6, 2016
MZB Technologies announces a data connectivity agreement with The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., providing increased precision agriculture Read More
Deere R4023 cab
BusinessReport: Smart Agriculture Market Worth $19 Billion By 2021
September 6, 2016
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Smart Agriculture Market – With Forecast (2016-2021)” report to their offering. Read More
Latest News
BusinessFarm Bureau Insurance Services, Granular Announce Partn…
September 29, 2016
American Farm Bureau Insurance Services (AFBIS Inc.), a Managing General Agent (MGA) for Approved Insurance Providers (AIP’s), has partnered with Read More
Sentera Rise Above
BusinessRise Above Selected To Resell Sentera Solutions Through…
September 28, 2016
Sentera, LLC, a global provider of remote sensing hardware and data management solutions signs a reseller agreement with Rise Above Read More
Western Canada Wheat field
DataFarmers Edge Partners With New Holland Dealer
September 28, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Mazergroup, North America’s largest Read More
A Satshot NDVIR analysis running on an iPad.
BusinessSatshot’s Landscout IOS Now API Linked With John …
September 28, 2016
Satshot’s Landscout IOS mobile software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services. Landscout Read More
Ag Drone
BusinessDroneDeploy Launches Turbo Uploader
September 27, 2016
DroneDeploy today announced a new solution that addresses drone data portability challenges in remote areas that have Internet bandwidth constraints. Read More
FUSE Farm Graphic
DataAGCO Is Founding Member Of The DKE Data-Hub Initiative
September 26, 2016
AGCO Corp., a world-leading manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has announced its participation as a founding member of the DKE Read More
Ian Yule, ISPA
ResearchLeading Ag Technology Researcher Appointed ISPA Preside…
September 26, 2016
Massey University’s Professor Ian Yule, one of the world’s leading agri-tech researchers, has been voted president of the International Society Read More
BusinessADAPT Conversion Toolkit Making In Roads With Equipment…
September 22, 2016
A leading group of equipment manufacturers will soon release products that greatly enhance a grower’s ability to manage data across Read More
Business2016 Farm Science Review: Talkin’ New Products, Educati…
September 21, 2016
The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has become an annual rite of fall for Buckeye State growers, retailers and Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
DataFarmers Edge Awarded $6.1M Investment From Sustainable …
September 21, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has announced that it will receive $6,107,563 Read More
BusinessGMO Aphids to Battle Weeds? It’s Not as Far Fetch…
September 21, 2016
No, I am not talking about optimizing aphids for a global agricultural armageddon. That would be silly. I’m talking about Read More
Young Corn Field
Best PracticesNitrogen: The Key to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
September 20, 2016
Precision ag can play a key role in reducing agriculture’s impact on greenhouse gases by limiting the nitrogen rate. Read More
W. Wade Robey, Raven
Industry NewsRaven Adds New Director Of Engineering
September 19, 2016
W. Wade Robey, Ph.D., joined Raven Applied Technology in August 2016 as Director of Engineering. In this role, he leads Read More
Mitchell Technical Institute students with drone
IntegratorsMTI Precision Ag Students Use Drone Technology
September 19, 2016
After weeks of sitting in the classroom, several Mitchell Technical Institute students were able to spend a few hours outside Read More
BusinessOPINION: Climate Corp. is the Jewel in Bayer’s Monsanto…
September 15, 2016
PERSPECTIVE: Over the next few days and weeks in the ag media space the major players will examine this latest Read More
Sugarcane India
Market ImpactPlantations International Brings Precision Farming Tech…
September 14, 2016
Hong Kong-based plantation and farm management company Plantations International has announced it is moving its contact centre from the Indian Read More
Corn close up
Start-UpsLewis & Clark Ventures Raises $20 Million For Agric…
September 13, 2016
Lewis & Clark Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on Series A and B stage investments, has announced $20 million Read More
BusinessSentera Joins Forces With Another Drone Distributor
September 13, 2016
Sentera has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Dynamic UAV Solutions North America, LLC, a new distributor in the commercial Read More