SWAT 012: Variable Rate Planting in Potatoes with Evan MacDonald

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 11:59 AM
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Senior Precision Agronomist Evan MacDonald joins us to talk about water, potatoes, and some of his research in Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada. In addition to working full time for Croptimistic Technology, Evan began pursuing his PhD with a project focusing on variable rate seed spacing in potatoes. He now has two years of data from trials showing variable rate seeding can significantly impact potato farmer profitability. His journey has been one of identifying missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to precision ag and then trying to find and validate those pieces. And that’s what ultimately led him to SWAT MAPS.

“All in all over two years in my trial sites, it was a benefit of about $170 an acre Canadian with a variable rate seeding strategy. So I think the economic return is definitely there. We can manage these areas of our field a little bit differently just by tweaking spacing. It's not like we're putting extra fertilizer down or something. All we're doing is just kind of changing the distribution of the seed across the field.”  - Evan MacDonald

2:06 - Hear about Evan’s background and his journey to Croptimistic Technology including a role in the department of agriculture and drone imaging where his focus was the impact topography and soil erosion had for producers.

4:41 - Evan explains the benefits of drone technology but also the limitations of their use and how they are a tool to be used but not solely relied upon

6:35 - Gain an understanding as to how Evan researched the use of drone imagery to predict crop yield resulting in a correlation found between the topography and water distribution to better yielding areas

7:30 - Discover how Evan first found SWAT MAPS, what appealed to him about their use and how he was able to introduce them to potato crops

9:30 - Evan explains the difference in approach and value between grid sampling and SWAT MAPS and where both can be best utilized

11:05 - Explore the benefits in managing risk, reduced inputs and higher yields Evan has observed with producers that employ SWAT MAPS

13:51 - Learn more about Evan’s research into variable rate seeding and the economic impact that technique can have

17:44 - Evan discusses the soil building crops commonly used in rotation with potatoes and the additional benefits they offer

19:11 - Discover more ways research is exploring the potential of precision agriculture focusing on variable rate irrigation

24:24 - Evan shares the potential for variable rate seeding using drone technology and the benefits of satellite imagery and the improved resolution producers are experiencing there especially when used in conjunction with SWAT MAPS

Croptimistic Technology Inc. is an international agriculture technology (AgTech) company. We began operating in 2018. Croptimistic is supported by a growing team of professionals who have dedicated their careers to developing the best soil mapping software and hardware in the world.
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