When ranking which precision technologies are the most profitable to adopt, Vogel Farms, Rockport, Ind., finds that RTK guidance pays off in multiple ways. Certainly it makes the Vogels more efficient, but simplifying on-farm trials is the ultimate payoff. And that’s real money.

Two generations of Vogels manage three enterprises: 3,550 acres of corn and soybeans, a Pioneer seed dealership and 110 beef cows.

Their move to RTK satellite guidance began as a way to speed drainage tile installation (no laser). Now, RTK is on all of their equipment. “It’s so much easier to test ideas with RTK; there’s no stopping or laying things out,” says Eric Vogel, 31.

RTK-placed seeds streamline corn planting, reduce waiting time after spring-applied anhydrous ammonia and enable Eric to test what works on their farm. So far, that’s been plant populations, starter fertilizer and hybrid comparisons.

Replicated starter fertilizer trials showed a 6-7-bushel gain on their poorer soils. Eric planted 48 rows without starter fertilizer, and 24 rows with anhydrous 7 inches away from the seed. Another 24 rows have the anhydrous 15 inches from the seed.

The dual-fertilizer system on their corn planter makes it easy for Eric to gauge the effect of 4 gallons 28% nitrogen plus 4 gallons ammonium thiosulfate with Boron per acre.

This year he’s also testing biological products and Capture insecticide in side-by-side strips across the entire field.