Increasing corn (Zea mays L.) profitability by site-specific seed and nutrient management in Igmand-Kisber Basin, Hungary

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Variable Rate technology (VRT) in seeding and nutrient management has been developed in order to apply crop inputs variably. Farm equipment is widely available to manage in-field variability in Hungary, however, defining management zones, seed rates and amounts of nutrients is still a challenge. An increasing number of growers in Hungary have started adopting precision agriculture technology; however, data on profitability concerning site-specific seeding and nitrogen management is not widely available. The objective of our work and this paper was to investigate the effect of variable rate seeding and nutrient management in a 92-hectare field planted with corn (Zea mays L.) where site-specific management had not been applied earlier. Management zones, seed and nitrogen variations had to be defined for the first time in the experimental field. Based on long-term remotely sensed data, 3 ha average management zones were determined for soil sampling. After sampling and laboratory analysis, seed rate and nitrogen recommendations were given to the farmer. Seed rates were determined based on the hybrid potential as well as the experience of the grower in the investigated location. Variable rate seeding was carried out by means of a John Deere 1775ND 12 row planting machine. Seed rates were determined between 65 and 82 thousand seeds per hectare. VRT nutrient management was limited to differences in nitrogen head fertilizer only, as soil sampling was carried out in the springtime. Variable rate nitrogen fertilizing was carried out by means of a Kverneland Exacta TL Geospread machine. The head fertilizing rate varied between 80 and 140 kg per hectare of carbamide. Despite dry climatic conditions with no precipitation in the optimal time period, yield and profitability increased. Lack of precipitation limited the efficiency of the variable rate nirogen head fertilizing, however, all 34 management zones produced a profit in the experimental field.

Site-specific seeding, site-specific nitrogen management, profitability of corn (Zea mays L.) production