Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version




Technological advances in data collection and analysis engines have made variable rate input use application much more common. Producers typically purchase software that produces site-specific prescription maps or purchase maps from consultants. The process of generating prescriptions maps is typically black-box, i.e. the process is unknown. Does using these purchased maps lead to more profits for producers?

This article discusses a method of verifying the economic profitability of site-specific prescription maps using an on-farm field experiment and statistical and economic analysis. A 76-acre field in Crawford County, Ohio is used for the study.

The maps on the following page are almost identical in their management zone delineations. The consultant created four management zones, each of which is assigned a unique seed-nitrogen rate combination. The four combinations are presented in Table 1. It suggests that high target seed rates are combined with low nitrogen rates.