Zone management is the process of breaking down a specific field into multiple smaller fields (or zones) of similar characteristics to better manage fertilizer, seed, cost, and ultimately profitability. These zones can be derived from multiple layer sources and can be as simple or complex as needed.
At Landus Cooperative, we offer three tiers of zone management ranging from the most basic 3 zone system to a complex 12 zone system.
Geo Reference Plus-3 Zones
Utilizes three zones and breaks the field into low production, medium production, and high production zones. These zones can be derived from satellite-based imagery or normalized yield maps from multiple years.
Zone Lite-6 Zones
Utilizes the same low, medium, and high production zones as the Geo Reference Plus option, however, we add in a precise terrain analysis layer. This lidar-based layer allows us to add in higher or lower-yielding hilltops and depressions, giving us a total of up to 6 zones in one field.
Full Zone-12 Zones
Geo Reference Plus + Zone Lite maps, AND it breaks zones down into multiple EC layers. These EC layers are created by a Veris Cart mapping the conductivity levels of the soil so we can see how tightly the soil holds its nutrients and better manage the fertilizer that is applied in each zone.
Once a field is zoned, we pull samples of each zone to get an idea of the nutrient levels in each specific zone. From here, we can decide how we may want to manage each zone. If it’s a poorer soil and it produces poorly year after year, we can just maintain that area rather than spend countless dollars building it. We can then use that money to push our higher producing zones into producing even more.
So why should a grower use zones? Simply put, to manage a field in the way the field is showing us how to manage it. When we can visualize from multiple sources of layers (elevation, yield, imagery, soil surveys, electrical conductivity maps) how the field lays out and performs, we can easily see where our different production areas are. From there, we can make decisions on how to better manage these areas. We can push the high yielding zones even higher while minimizing costs on the consistently poor zone. For the zones in the average producing areas, we can decide for each what would be the best management option – does it need more fertilizer? Less seed per acre? A different hybrid?
Zone management is a great option for all growers. It's precise cost-effective and gives growers a new and better way to view their farms.