No one field is completely homogeneous in terms of crop yield. In one area, you can reap 12 tons of grain per hectare every year, while you only get 4 in another one. The higher an area’s yield is over multiple years, the more productive it is. It stands to reason that if you increase the seeding rate for these areas, their yield will grow, too. And, on the other hand, if you decrease the seeding rate in low yielding areas, the yield won’t change. This approach is called variable-rate seeding
. In theory, it cuts down on the number of seeds you use while increasing the yield.
Last year, I decided to find out if this is true. To do so, I conducted several experiments in Ukraine involving spring crops: corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. Through a series of essays, I’ll talk about how the experiments went and share the results. We’ll start with the first experiment: sunflower fields in Ukraine’s Kherson Region.
The optimal seeding rate for sunflowers is highly debated. Farms usually stick to the rate recommended by their local seed supplier. I decided to sow sunflower seeds at a varied rate to see how it would impact crop yield and whether or not I could cut back on the number of seeds I used.
I conducted the experiment on Agroproduct, LTD’s
fields in the Kherson Region. I used two fields with different moisture levels. One field was irrigated, while the other was dryland, or land without artificial irrigation.