Monitoring winter crops is a profitable investment for agricultural business. Practice shows that the yield of these crops is higher than that of spring crops; accordingly, greater profits are generated at approximately the same costs. Growing winter crops has its own specifics (difficulty withstanding cold weather, diseases and climate changes in recent years), but the game is worth the candle.
We, together with farmers and several farms in the Kyiv, Nikolaev and Kherson regions, have compiled a guide with recommendations that will help you grow a good harvest!
Preparation for the season and preservation of crops in the fall are the determining factors for a high yield. Factors affecting yield:
- meeting the need for fertilizer,
- protection against weeds and pests,
- growth regulation for successful overwintering of plants.
The main task is to preserve crops from death due to low temperatures.
When developing measures aimed at preserving plants during the wintering period, the combination of agronomic science with progressive technological practice plays an important role. The greatest resistance to negative factors is demonstrated by:
- properly selected varieties
- optimal sowing time
- quality of seed material (intact, healthy seeds)
- good soil preparation
- proper plant nutrition
- food moisture content
Under such conditions, winter crops have time to develop normally before the onset of winter and form a well-developed root system and tillering node.
The purpose of agrotechnical measures:
To obtain a good harvest, you need to preserve at least 500-700 productive shoots per 1 m2 with high ear productivity. To do this, even before sowing, it is necessary to conduct soil studies for pests, diseases, and weeds, and check the fertility of the land according to physical and chemical indicators.
The yield of winter crops may differ from the growing region, weather conditions, and the selected grain variety, but there is a set of measures that allows you to solve problems such as: poor frost and winter hardiness of plants, diseases, fungal and viral infections. The solution to these problems was a clearly structured algorithm of processes for effective crop care.
The use of modern technologies, such as comprehensive soil analysis in laboratories, crop monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and satellite images, differentiated sowing and fertilization systems, allows us to obtain a consistently high yield, while saving time and money.
• Fertilizer savings – 15-30%
• Seed material savings – 3-8%
• Reduction in depreciation of agricultural machinery – 5-10%
• Financial resource savings – 12 $ per hectare
With the help of experts from the Ukrainian company Drone.UA, using the example of farm fields in the Nikolaev region, we simulated various situations and prepared a list of mandatory work necessary to achieve maximum results.
In autumn, weeds reduce the overwintering rate of crops due to competition for nutrients and light, and also form their root system, which complicates the fight against them in spring/summer. During this period, it is necessary to draw up maps of crop infestation by weeds, as well as count and determine the species composition of weeds. It is important to timely determine the level and foci of weed spread, make a decision on the use of herbicides, calculate the dose and create maps for differentiated crop treatment.
Protection against fungal and viral infections
In case of insufficient seed treatment, various surface diseases, such as powdery mildew, leaf rust, etc., significantly reduce future yield. It is necessary to identify foci of diseases for the timely use of fungicides. In severe cases of lesions, the type of causative agent of the disease should be determined. Many companies, in addition to conducting tests, provide advice on the use of drugs.
Growth rate control (for winter rapeseed)
helps prevent plants from growing larger than the optimal size for overwintering. Growth regulators redirect nutrients from the above-ground parts of the plant to the roots, slowing down the growth of the above-ground parts and stimulating the development of the root system. For the targeted use of these substances, it is necessary to create maps of the level of development of rapeseed crops, on the basis of which a decision is made on the use of a growth regulator.
Determination of soil fertility.
The main application of fertilizers occurs during/before sowing, but no less important is early-spring fertilizing, which can be adjusted if you have information about soil fertility (and the condition of the plants at the time of entering and leaving wintering). Having generated such maps of soil fertility, which, with ground verification (agrochemical analysis at selected points), can be used to clarify fertilizer rates. In this case, soil scanning should be carried out as early as possible so that vegetation does not cover the soil.
Determination of plant development indicators is used to formulate norms for early spring fertilizer application. Before entering the winter hut (preferably) or immediately after leaving it, specialists can provide information in the form of maps on the following indicators:
— percentage of germination
— tillering coefficient
— aboveground biomass
— development phase
— leaf surface index
- chlorophyll concentration
— total photosynthetic potential.
This information is important for adjusting fertilizer application rates, as well as, for example, for spring sowing.
Analysis of the previous growing season(s). If you receive an unexpectedly low yield in individual fields or a fragment of a field, it is worth using archival satellite data, which can restore a picture of the dynamics of the growing season and identify the cause of the decline in yield, the moment of its onset and location. Even if the predecessor was different, the reason for the decrease in yield may be similar this year, for example, areas of soil flooding that are not visible from the edge of the field. Such information will help formulate a strategy for treating problem areas this season.
The use of the above methods increases productivity by 10-15%, while simultaneously reducing the cost of seeds and fertilizers. These indicators were obtained empirically over the last two seasons.
Drone . UA is the leader in the Ukrainian market of unmanned aerial vehicles for agriculture. The company oversees more than 2 million hectares of agricultural land of Ukrainian enterprises. The company offers a wide range of services for farmers for monitoring, processing, data analysis, mapping, and recommendations for caring for crops.