Biological Systems Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Joe D. Luck

Date of this Version


Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanized Systems Management, Under the Supervision of Professor Joe D. Luck. Lincoln, Nebraska: January, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Rachel Hope Stevens


The ability to variably plant multiple hybrids or treatments during field operation has been identified as one option for mitigating in-field variation caused by soil, disease pressures, environmental and water conditions. While the system performance has been validated, producers still have questions concerning development of management zones, hybrid and treatment assignment, and economic advantage from implementation. Assessment of a multi-hybrid planting platform was conducted during the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. On-farm trials were performed on ten corn fields and five soybean fields in eastern Nebraska. Corn trials focused on placement of two contrasting hybrids for soil type and water availability interactions. Soybean trials focused on site-specific seed treatment of ILeVO® to combat sudden death syndrome. Management zones were created through use of Management Zone Analyst to cluster correlating layers into zones. Spatial layers utilized included yield maps, soil texture maps, and electrical conductivity maps. Performance of hybrid placement and zone delineation was assessed through in-season vegetative index readings, disease pressure evaluation and ultimately with yield comparisons at harvest. Above average moisture conditions led to mixed results for the 2016 and 2017 growing season. Economically, a single hybrid should been planted across all corn fields. Zone scenarios were created for each field. An optimum placement of hybrids was determined for each site but needs further validation as there were high amounts of temporal variability. Results for the soybean sites also showed mixed yield results. Economically, the ILeVO® treatment resulted in a higher marginal net return in one zone at one field site. Break-even analysis for that field site indicated the multi-hybrid technology could be paid off in as little as five soybean growing seasons. Based on the two years of data, soybean seed treatment shows promise for successful implementation of multi-hybrid planting. More years of data should be collected, including data from dryer growing seasons, to further test corn hybrid placement.

Adviser: Joe D. Luck