When the VRA map is complete, the next step is to build control strips. Control strips are special areas of the field in productivity zones where an experiment is set to compare application rates. Control strips are necessary to interpret the results of the trial, i.e., how planting, fertilization, or plant protection product application affected yield.

The app builds control strips automatically, so you don't need to memorize the rules for how to do that. That said, you should still make sure you follow the platform's recommendations.

How to build control strips:

  1. Choose the number of control strips. There are two options:

    • 1 control strip with an average application rate in high- and low-productivity zones.

    • 2 control strips in each zone:

      • With medium and low rates in the high-productivity zone

      • With high and low rates in the medium-productivity zone

      • With medium and high rates in the low-productivity zone.

    Our recommendation is to use 2 strips because it's better when control strips cover all productivity zones with all rates. In such a case, we can evaluate how effective variable-rate application was and determine the best rate for each zone. When we use one control strip, we can only conclude the VRA was effective in the high- and low-productivity zones.

  2. Specify the machinery's direction. This is the direction that seeding or harvesting is done. Try to specify it as accurately as possible. The accuracy of the analysis of the experiment's results depends on it.

  3. Select the direction of the control strips. By default, control strips are built perpendicular to the machinery's direction. This way, it's easier to analyze the experiment results. Keep in mind, though, that the control strips must be at least 70 meters wide. This is because the machinery switches the application or seeding rates after a delay. If you're sure that your machinery immediately switches rates, you can decrease the control strip's width.

    You can also build control strips parallel to the machinery's direction as long as the control strip will be harvested at the same time using the same combine harvester. If the field is harvested by several harvesters, the experiment results will be difficult to analyze because of the difference in their calibration. Please make sure that harvesters are properly calibrated before harvesting a field in which you set up a trial.

  4. Set the control strips' width. The app will automatically set it to 100 meters. You can decrease the width if you're sure your machinery immediately switches rates. When building control strips, our algorithm factors in an important rule: The left and right boundaries of the control strip should lie in one productivity zone and that zone has to be its most homogenous area. You may notice that the actual width of the control strip may vary by ±10 meters. It depends on the field's productivity distribution. Let's say, for example, that you've built productivity strips that are 90 meters wide. In the high-productivity zone, the width of the control strip can be 100 meters, and in the low-productivity zone, it can be 80 meters. The width of the control strips differs, but you can be sure that our algorithms have built them in the best places possible and following all the rules!

  5. Now you just need to go to the 'Download' tab, select the file format, download it to your computer, and upload it to the machinery's onboard computer.

The adventure begins! Now it's time to go to the field and perform the operation! But to get insights into your field, you have to wait for harvesting to be done, so be patient!

By the way, the OneSoil modem can be of great help here. It can transfer files with the results of field operations between machinery's onboard computers and yours. Just click the button on the modem, and the files will appear on your computer. Upload them to OneSoil, and you'll see if the field has any gaps after performing a field operation.

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