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
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Education
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Companies?
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps Tool
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Trending Articles
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil Sensors
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Latest News
Satellite
AmericasArgentina Bets on $600m Satellite to Boost Agriculture …
September 25, 2018
Argentina is launching a new microwave imaging satellite to monitor natural disasters and soil moisture, in a long-term bid to Read More
AmericasFarmers Edge Announces New Retail-Facing Precision Ag P…
September 25, 2018
Farmers Edge announced the launch of a new solution designed exclusively for agricultural professionals to enhance their relationships with customers Read More
FIRA
EventsAgricultural Robotics Take Center Stage at FIRA 2018
September 24, 2018
The future of agricultural innovation will continue to rely heavily on collaboration and exchange of ideas among all industry players. Read More
Corn field sunset
Decision Support SoftwareLand O’Lakes SUSTAIN Launches Ambitious Digital S…
September 24, 2018
Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN today announced its plan to roll out the Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive on-farm digital platform that Read More
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More