Optimal Acre

The Heart of the Decision

The Optimal Acre Program was created out of our core belief in “Shared growth. Shared success.” MKC believes every producer can and should benefit from utilizing all or parts of Optimal Acre on their farm immediately. We understand historically it has been very expensive to get into precision agriculture. The Optimal Acre Program has lowered the barrier to entry by spreading the cost of the program out over four years. The cost then is $3.75/ac per acre per year for four years for Optimal Acre, which incorporates the farmer’s yield data into the program. We also have our Optimal Acre Lite option priced at $3.25/ac per year if the farmer doesn’t utilize yield data. 

At the core of Optimal Acre is 2.5-acre grid sampling. The program provides a baseline of what a field or farms underlying soil fertility is. Once we know the underlying fertility, we can make customized fertility prescriptions to bring the soil fertility to a level best suited for growing crops.

Beyond the grid sampling, Optimal Acre provides the ability to do variable rate nitrogen management, variable rate seeding, access to satellite imagery, analysis of yield data and incorporation of yield data into the soil fertility recommendations, making them the most accurate recommendations available.

Fertilizer and Lime Applied Through Variable Rate Technology

With the cost of inputs, it is becoming more and more important to properly manage the application of fertilizer and lime. One way to do this is through the use of Variable Rate Technology (VRT) to apply varying amounts of fertilizer across a field according to the needs of the crop.

  • A great start to the Optimal Acre Program for any producer.
  • Variable rate fertilizer prescriptions are created from GPS grid soil sampling for several key nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sulfur and lime for pH and others.
  • MKC provides both a build and a maintenance VRT recommendation to create a field-specific fertilizer program.
  • You can optimize your input costs by applying more product where the soil nutrients are deficient and applying either less or none where they are sufficient.

Conventional vs Variable Rate

In the fall, MKC pulled a typical composite sample on a field for a grower. After reviewing the soil test results with an MKC field marketer, the grower decided to pursue a grid sample on the field. The composite sample showed a pH of 5.2 but the grid samples revealed the pH was anywhere from 5.0 to 7.9. The composite sample showed a phosphorus level of 24ppm while the grids revealed it to be anywhere from 17 to 60ppm. These sample results display the common variability on most fields that are far from the ideal pH range of 6.5 and 30-35ppm phosphorus for most crops.

On the lime alone, comparing the recommendations between the composite sample and the grid sample would have resulted in only 3% of the acres receiving the correct application rate of lime. The grid results also showed 11 acres of the field did not need lime applied which saved the grower $1,105.50. Ultimately, the savings paid for the grid sample testing. Similar savings and results were found with the VRT phosphorus application.

Click to listen to Troy Walker on AgPro discussing the Optimal Acre Program.

RossBenischwithmember

 

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