Test blocks are a valuable tool to gain confidence when making seeding rate decisions. How do we currently know what rate is best in each field? Are we wasting inputs by planting too much or are we not maximizing potential by planting too little? Test blocks allow you to do on-farm testing whether the blocks are placed in a flat rate or variable rate field. In variable-rate fields, the test block will validate the script and in flat rate fields, it will provide data to make a more confident decision on your rate for the coming years. Test blocks will also provide data that will show if variable rate is a tool that could be used on a field to maximize ROI.
Creating Test Blocks
To create test blocks, you must first create a Seed Plan. The Seed Plan can be located for any field by clicking on the dark green Seed Plan Tab. Next, click the big green button to Create a Seed Plan (Figure 1).
Fixed-Rate Test Blocks
Units will be calculated for the fixed-rate seeding plan. The plan, along with the test block(s), can be sent to a MyJohnDeere or Climate account. It can also be downloaded for manual upload to a monitor. To add a test block click Add a test block. You can also remove a test block by clicking Remove a test block. Test blocks can be moved by clicking and dragging the block in the field (Figure 2).
Variable-Rate Test Blocks
A seed plan can be changed to variable rate by pressing Change to variable rate (Figure 3). A variable-rate plan can be modified by clicking Modify Rate. A new window will appear with editing tools. In this menu, you can include test blocks in your script by clicking Add test block and remove them by clicking Remove test block. Again, test blocks can be moved by clicking and dragging the block in the field (Figure 3). The plan can be sent to a MyJohnDeere or Climate account. It can also be downloaded for manual upload to a monitor.
Below is the rate layout of the corn test block. Test blocks represent 4 rates: base rate, +2000, +4000, and -2000 (Figure 4). Base rate is the rate that was recommended in the area the test block is placed.
Test Block Placement
Correct test block placement is critical. It is ideal to place a test block in an area of the field with little variation. To identify these areas, click on the soil tab and go to the productivity index (Figure 5). This will overlay the test blocks on the productivity map. Test blocks can be moved to correct areas of the field for maximized results.