Transforming On-Farm Trials into Improved Crop Mgmt Decisions with Pioneer® Field360™ Services
Crop Insights by Andy Heggenstaller and Scott Nelson, DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Research Managers
- Pioneer® Field360™ services was introduced to assist Pioneer sales professionals in working with customers to transform farm data into new management insights that can help growers increase productivity.
- One capability of Pioneer Field360 services is enhanced multifactor analysis of on-farm trials. Gaining more understanding of how products and agronomic practices interact across soils can help growers improve placement decisions, reduce input costs, and increase yield and profitability.
- This Crop Insights presents 3 examples of how the analytical capabilities of Pioneer Field360 services have been used in conjunction with on-farm trials to improve decisions about hybrid placement, seeding rate response to fungicide and residue management.
- Growers can contact a Pioneer sales professional in their area to learn how Pioneer Field360 services can help drive crop management decisions from their on-farm trials.
The ability to collect volumes of diverse and spatially referenced field data continues to grow. It is increasingly important to simplify and integrate these data so they can be used to drive improved management decisions. Pioneer Field360 services is a software platform designed to help meet this need. It provides powerful new tools that can help growers turn field information into insightful management decisions that improve farm productivity and profitability.
One capability of Pioneer Field360 services is robust multifactor analysis of on-farm trials. Layering geo-referenced soils data with management zones and other operational information helps growers understand how multiple agronomic and environmental factors interact to affect yield across fields (Figure 1). Pioneer Field360 services offers the capability to analyze many different types of data incorporated from a variety of sources (Table 1).
Figure 1. Illustration of how Pioneer Field360 software overlays geo-referenced soils data (upper layer) with hybrid and management zone positions (middle 2 layers) to determine how these factors affect yield (bottom layer) in an on-farm trial.
Table 1. Examples of data layers that can be incorporated into analysis of on-farm trials using Pioneer Field360 services.
* National Commodity Crop Productivity Index
** Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
Pioneer Enclass® Soils is a proprietary system available only through Pioneer® Field360™ services that classifies soils according to water-holding capacity and drainage characteristics (Table 2). Because of the importance of soil water (both deficit and excess) in determining crop productivity potential, Pioneer EnClass Soils can be a valuable data layer for understanding product and management impacts in on-farm trials.
Table 2. Pioneer EnClass Soils descriptions.
Insights Gained from Pioneer® Field360™ Services
Any on-farm trial can be analyzed using Pioneer Field360 services as long as yield monitor data are available and the position of treatment zones within the field is known. Below are 3 examples of an analysis from Pioneer Field360 services applied to a multilocation on-farm trial. In each case, the analysis provided insights that could lead to improved crop management decisions (Table 3). All results presented are for trials conducted in Iowa in 2012. Each example focuses on a different crop production issue involving 2 interacting factors. The first and third examples involve product and management practice performance relative to soil type. The second example involves the interaction of 2 management practices.
Table 3. Overview of 3 examples of an analysis from Pioneer Field360 services applied to an on-farm trial.
Example 1: Hybrid Placement
The ability to evaluate hybrid performance by soil type can provide valuable information to guide placement of products on specific fields or field areas where they are best adapted. More so than any other soil attribute, water-holding capacity and drainage class broadly impact crop performance. Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax™ products are now available across an increasingly wide array of hybrid platforms and maturities. This creates new opportunities to manage drought stress by placing these products on soils that are more prone to water-limited conditions.
Trials to evaluate hybrid performance by Pioneer EnClass Soils were conducted at 500 locations throughout Iowa in 2012 (Figure 2). Each location included 4 to 8 products. The number of locations varied among products, which were evaluated in sets based on geography of adaptation. The current analysis focuses on 2 products evaluated across 10 locations in the trial: Pioneer® P0621AM1™ brand corn (AM1, LL, RR2), a 106 CRM Optimum AQUAmax product; and Pioneer® P0115AM1™ brand corn (AM1, LL, RR2), a 101 CRM product with generally strong agronomic traits and drought tolerance (but not an Optimum AQUAmax product). These products have similar yield potential under non-water-limited conditions. Trials were analyzed in Pioneer Field360 services software using yield monitor data, soils data and as-planted hybrid zones as input layers.
Figure 2. Visualization of as-planted zones and Pioneer EnClass Soils layers in Pioneer Field360 services for a trial location evaluating 4 different hybrids.
Figure 3. Yield of 2 hybrids by soil classification (by Pioneer Enclass® Soils). Results are summarized across 10 locations.
Insights from Pioneer® Field360™ Services
Analyzing product performance by Pioneer EnClass Soils revealed that, on average, the Optimum® AQUAmax™ product (Pioneer® P0621AM1™ brand corn), had a 15 bu/acre yield advantage over the non-Optimum AQUAmax product (Pioneer® P0115AM1™ brand corn) on potentially dry soils, but performed similarly on well-drained and potentially wet soils.
Example 2: Corn Yield Response to Seeding Rate and Fungicide Application
High-yield corn management relies on a system of intensive practices that act together to achieve yields beyond what can be achieved by the individual practices in isolation. High seeding rates coupled with fungicide application at an early stage of crop reproductive growth are 2 common components of high-yield corn management systems.
Trials to evaluate corn yield response to seeding rate and fungicide application were conducted at 55 locations throughout Iowa in 2012 (Figure 4). Each location included 1 or more hybrids planted at 30k, 34k, 38k and 42k seeds/acre. A foliar fungicide was applied to one-half of each location, perpendicular to the row direction. Fungicide products varied among locations, but all were applied at the R1 growth stage. Locations were classified into yield environments prior to analysis. The current analysis presents results for high-yield environments (180 to 220 bu/acre) where intensive management practices are generally implemented. 10 of the 55 locations included in the trial were classified as high-yield environments. These locations were analyzed in Pioneer Field360 services using yield monitor data, as-planted seeding rate zones and as-applied fungicide application zones as input layers.
Figure 4. Visualization of fungicide and seeding rate treatment layers in Pioneer Field360 services. Each location included 2 replications of 2 hybrids at 4 seeding rates, with and without foliar fungicide application.
Figure 5. Corn yield response to population and fungicide in high-yield environments (180 to 220 bu/acre). Results are summarized across 10 locations and 20 hybrids.
Insights from Pioneer® Field360™ Services
Corn yield responded to increased population when higher seeding rates were combined with foliar fungicide application. In high-yield environments, corn yield responded positively to seeding rates between 30k and 38k seeds/acre when a foliar fungicide was applied. In contrast, yield declined incrementally beyond 30k seeds/acre when fungicide was not applied. These results underscore the importance of matching increased seeding rates with intensive management practices that reduce stress and/or preserve yield potential at high densities.
Example 3: Managing Corn Residues through Partial Removal
In high productivity continuous corn systems where excessive residue levels have become a management challenge, removing a portion of corn stover in the fall can have a positive impact on yield of the next year's corn crop. Given the close interactions between crop residues and soil, it's reasonable to expect that stover removal would be better suited to some soils than others.
Trials to evaluate the effect of partial corn stover harvest on yield of corn following corn were conducted at 12 locations in central Iowa in 2012. Each location was a 30- to 40-acre area within a commercial production field that included 3 replications of 2 strip treatments: partial stover harvest (target harvest rate of 2 tons/acre) and no stover harvest (Figure 6). Stover was harvested during fall 2011 using commercial hay equipment, including shredder-windrowers, bar rakes and large square balers. Crop management practices and inputs varied among locations, but all were characterized by similar tillage practices: fall disk chisel followed by 1 or 2 spring field cultivation passes. Trials were analyzed in Pioneer® Field360™ services using yield monitor data, soils data and treatment locations as input layers.
Figure 6. Visualization of corn stover treatment layers in Pioneer Field360 services. Each trial location included 3 partial harvest strips where approximately 2 tons/acre of stover was removed and 3 control strips where no stover was removed. Treatment strips were roughly 6 acres in area (48 rows x 1/2 mile).
Figure 7. Yield advantage by soil type and Pioneer Enclass® Soils for corn grown following corn with partial stover harvest. Results are summarized across 12 locations.
Insights from Pioneer® Field360™ Services
Analyzing the yield advantage of partial stover harvest by soil type revealed that this management practice was best positioned on fields dominated by potentially wet soils. On these soils, the partial stover harvest treatment yielded 7 bu/acre more, on average, than the no stover harvest treatment. A positive yield response to partial stover harvest was observed on 75% of the potentially wet acres evaluated. In contrast, on well-drained soils, partial stover harvest incurred a 2 bu/acre yield penalty compared to no stover harvest. A flat or negative yield response to stover harvest was observed on 80% of well-drained acres evaluated.
The examples presented in this article highlight the capabilities of Pioneer Field360 services to improve analysis of on-farm trials to better understand how management practices interact with one another and across soils. Improved understanding of such interactions can often drive crop management decisions, including hybrid placement (example 1 above), seeding rate (example 2) and residue management (example 3). Growers are encouraged to contact a Pioneer sales professional in their area to learn more about Pioneer Field360 services and how it can help drive management decisions from their on-farm trials.
IMPORTANT: The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Product performance is variable and depends on a variety of disease, weather, and pest pressures. Individual results may vary. Please contact a Pioneer sales professional for information tailored to your operation.