How to use management zones

Posted by Kevin Kruize on 2/5/20 8:15 AM
Kevin Kruize

Management Zones are defined as, similar agronomic areas in a field that are created from a combination of layers. These similar agronomic areas can be used to manage inputs and data to analyze better efficiency and return on investment to your farm.  At Premier Crop we offer a user-friendly way to bring these layers together in one platform and help you make confident decisions from your data.   

Create Zones – How you create zones depends how you intend to use the zone once it is created. There are many valuable data layers, the more layers and confidence you have, the better the zone and more useful it will be. If you are new to data management and have not collected many data layers, a few simple layers such as soil test attributes, one to two years of yield data, and even a NDVI image can get you started. As you build data layers such as yield and soil fertility you can start defining management zones to be more accurate. The more history you have the more refined the management zone will be to give you more confidence for variable rate prescriptions such as planting and fertility.   

get started with management zones

Using Management Zones -   Management zones have been the catalyst in creating yield synergy across hundreds of thousands of acres in our system. Yield synergy is defined as applying the right rate of multiple products to achieve a higher return in specific parts of the field, rather than applying more or less of one product at one rate on a whole field. Developing the right rates is calculated by incorporating your management zones into all of your prescriptions. Each zone will have a specific calculated rate per product to be applied based on its productivity. If we know that you have a high yield environment, we have proven with our replicated randomized trials, called Enhanced Learning Blocks, that we can increase fertility, population, and crop protection products in these areas to push that environment to a higher yield. We also have experienced in lower producing zones, not only a savings on input costs, but also yield increases due to less plant crowding with lower plant population and better use of fertility management. Now that is a huge win for your bottom line!

create yield profit from management zones

Analysis:  This is where Premier Crop is different because we analyze how your management zones and prescriptions performed. We prove if the products, population and rates were profitable. Management zones can have little value if you don’t have a good platform to analyze them.  Once you build your zones, Premier Crop can take a deep dive to understand how each zone is delivering value across your field and your farm. Our management zone reports can identify what variables are affecting yield and profitability, we prove if the rates worked. Premier Crop generates an easy-to-read report that shows what you did in each zone agronomically and how yield responded. We then break it down to see what the top correlating factors are in each zone to identify what we can continue to improve. Utilizing Premier Crop’s cost/bu analysis per zone helps you understand your field's true ROI and prove that by increasing or decreasing input dollars in the right areas of the field can make you more margin.  

corn cost per bushel by management zones

Management Zones can provide great value to your operation when created, implemented and analyzed correctly. Premier Crop Systems platform is built to meet any grower where they are to create management zones using their data.  Whether you have years of data, or a 60-year-old soil map, we can help you be more profitable. Don’t get stuck using a system that can’t provide analysis of its work or prove your results. Premier Crop Systems is proud to be your partner on your path to higher profits.   

Topics: management zones, variable rate


Premier Crop Systems, based out of Des Moines, IA, started in 1999 to deliver better agronomic decisions through data analysis that lead to higher yields, increased profits and more sustainable practices for customers. 


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