How To Avoid Yield Loss Using Curve Compensation

Curve Compensation ExactEmerge
Curve compensation is a feature offered on newer electric-drive planters, such as John Deere’s Exact Emerge.

Planting is often considered the most important step in a farming operation. For this reason, there have been many advancements in planter technology that allow farmers to work more efficiently. For example, one strategy often used by growers is employing larger tractors and planters to cover more ground. However, larger planters come with their own challenges, such as the inconsistency in seeding rate that can happen across the rows when a planter drives along a curve.

Planting on a Curve

To help visualize, picture a marching band in a parade. As the formation approaches a turn, those on the inside virtually march in place while those on the outside speed up to give the illusion that they are turning in sync. If they did not do this and everyone marched at the same pace, those that were on the inside of the curve would be noticeably ahead of the others.

While one might think a planter has nothing in common with a marching band, the way they navigate around curves is similar, with the outside rows moving faster to keep up with the inside. This leads to the inconsistency in seeding rate. When seeds are dropped at a constant rate among all rows, the inside rows become greatly overpopulated because the row unit didn’t travel very far. Meanwhile, the outside rows experience under-population because the row units traveled a greater distance between seeds.

The good news for growers is manufacturers are beginning to address this issue. Curve compensation is a feature offered on newer electric-drive planters, such as John Deere’s Exact Emerge and Max Emerge 5e row units. The electric motors on each row unit allow them to operate independently of each other, so a different seeding rate can be run on each unit across the planter. While most planters today can execute a variable rate prescription, it is implemented as an average rate across the width of the planter. As a result, when planting in a curve, the row units on the outside of the planter speed up, and the row units on the inside slow down, decreasing the difference in seeding along both sides and effectively solving the problem.

Studying the Curve

Because curve compensation is a new feature, the team at RDO Equipment Co. sought to study it and show the potential yield loss that can occur without it. Daniel Eslinger and Brent Horner, members of the RDO Equipment Co. product specialist team and based in North Dakota, decided to evaluate a customer’s field.

“Not every field is square and we were curious how plant populations were affected by a curve,” Eslinger said. He further explained that the primary goal in conducting the study wasn’t to show how well curve compensation works but, rather, to determine what kind of yield loss could be expected without it.

Horner and Eslinger took stand counts across the width of 24 planted rows and followed the area through the season. In their preliminary stand count they found that the inside rows were overplanted by up to 124% of the target population, while the outside rows were only at 81% of the target population. It’s conceivable that on a larger planter, such as a 36- or 48-row, this disparity between the outside and inside rows would be even larger.

Curve Compensation Corn Ears
Eslinger and Horner observed the center rows had an average yield of 161 bushels per acre (bu/ac), while the inner and outer rows yielded 152 bu/ac and 131 bu/ac, respectively.

When it came to time to harvest the ears, Eslinger explained the team’s initial observations and conclusions.

“On the outside rows, where we had thin population, the cobs were massive, but we still had lower yield,” he said. He determined this was because the plants had access to more resources such as water, nutrients, and light, but they were not able to compensate for the lower plant population. The center rows had an average yield of 161 bushels per acre (bu/ac), while the inner and outer rows yielded 152 bu/ac and 131 bu/ac, respectively. With $3 per bushel of corn, this represented a $27 loss per acre on the inside rows, and a $90 loss per acre on the outside rows.

In a field with a lot of curves, this degree of loss can add up quickly. Curve compensation technology offered in many new planters could easily pay for itself. However, it’s important to note that, while clear benefits exist, this technology isn’t for everybody.

“You have to think of a customer’s field and how many curves they’re going around,” Eslinger said. With thoughtful evaluation of a grower’s unique business, moving to the technology found in the MaxEmerge 5e and ExactEmerge row units would be a good decision for some.

Applying the Curve

In addition to the technology offered by these machines, the ExactEmerge system is designed for such accuracy that variable rate prescriptions and curve compensation can be reliably implemented at speeds up to 10 mph, offering several benefits for farmers in terms of input costs, efficiency, and yield.

Eslinger and Horner hope to continue evaluating curve compensation, and turned to the sales team at RDO Equipment Co. for additional thoughts on potential future trials. Included in the ideas that would provide valuable information for them and their customers were performing side-by-side comparisons of different row units, the effectiveness of prescriptions, and looking at different row spacing.

For those thinking about conducting field trials of their own, Eslinger and Horner advise to remember to keep it simple. It’s typically recommended that only one or two things be compared at a time, otherwise there can be too many variables, making it difficult to draw accurate conclusions. Also, don’t forget about the growers. Pick trial ideas that will provide valuable information for growers looking to improve their operations.

When visiting their customer after the curve compensation trial, Horner and Eslinger said he could certainly see how a planter with curve compensation could improve his yield.

“Now, are we going to sell him a new planter because of it? I don’t know,” Horner said. “But it’s possible!”

Both Eslinger and Horner hope this field trial and others they plan to implement from their list of new ideas will provide helpful information for growers in their area to think about, and concrete numbers for sales team members to use when talking about new technology with their customers.

To learn more about curve compensation and the benefits it could offer your operation, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.

Leave a Reply

Service Providers Stories
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2018 4R Summit
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in Precision Agriculture
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s Driverless Tractor Kit
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&D’
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Trending Articles
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportunities
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
Ernie-Chappell-Screenshot
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
UCANR_booth_Food_IT_forum
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsRaven Launching CR12 Field Computer in Europe this Week
June 19, 2018
Raven Industries announced the release of a new, larger field computer: the CR12. Utilizing the same functionality as the CR7 Read More
dropcopter
DronesNew York Apple Orchard Claims World First in Pollinatio…
June 18, 2018
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette, NY, is the first orchard in the world to use drones to pollinate Read More
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareAgrian Enhances Field Scouting App
June 18, 2018
Agrian has added a new feature to its robust field scouting app – a pest trap counting solution. The new Read More
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2…
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
Iron Man
UncategorizedAgFunder News: Forget Self-Driving Tractors; Agricultur…
June 18, 2018
Marvel’s Iron Man suit might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for growers, writes Joseph Byrum on AgFunderNews.com. Once the Read More
Soil-Corn-plants-field
Data ManagementRemote Soil-Sensed Management Zones Help Increase Crop …
June 18, 2018
Accurate prescription maps are essential for effective variable rate technology (VRT) fertilizer application. Grid soil sampling is frequently used to Read More
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportu…
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in P…
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australian-Farmers
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
Drone-exhbitor-at-Drone-Show
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Specialty CropsGrowingProduce.com: Fruit Growers, It’s Time to Mechani…
May 30, 2018
If you’re into conspiracies, you might be interested to know that I have stumbled onto a doozy. And it looks Read More