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What is variable rate

Typical variations can occur in a paddock in a number of ways.


  • Soil types (the proportion of clay, loam and sand as well as rock, which affects moisture holding capacity).
  • Soil chemistry (the pH, cation exchange capacity and organic carbon).
  • Soil nutrient levels (phosphorus, nitrogen and trace elements).
  • Elevation profile.
  • Weed burdens.
  • Disease burdens.


By measuring variation across paddocks through the use of yield, elevation, biomass and soil characterisation surveys, data management zones can be established. Through the use of targeted soil and tissue testing we can understand what is driving variability within a paddock and by utilising variable rate technology, we can manage the variables effectively in order to make significant gains.

  • We can better manage risk.
  • We can maximise the returns from input investments.
  • We can ensure long term farm and business sustainability.


And there’s no doubt that precision farming can maximise your returns. In fact, variable rate technology could give you net benefits of up to $20/ha.*


*SPAA research project “Case Studies on the Economics of Precision Agriculture in South Australia” by Dr Matt Macullum and other associated GRDC studies.

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