One of the greatest challenges facing farmers today is to increase productivity per hectare. Intercropping, the practice of growing two or more crops together in the same field, is being adopted worldwide as a sustainable and effective agricultural practice. The main objective of intercropping is to get the best possible yield from a given plot of land by maximizing the potential available resources at a given time.
Whenever crops are planted together, they can affect each other negatively or positively as they compete for water, light, and nutrients. Careful plant selection, precise seeding, and growth management are the keys to success.
In this case study, corn and soybeans were co-cropped in the same field in China, and the auto-steering system from CHCNAV was used to achieve the precision seeding goals.
Figure 1. The corn and soybean field in Anhui, China
About corn and soybean intercropping
Plants in the leguminous family, such as soybeans, are known for their nitrogen-fixing processes. As such, soybeans provide nitrogen to corn, so intercropping reduces the need for additional nitrogen fertilizer to some extent, saves on application costs, and avoids the potential loss of nitrogen from the farm to the environment. It also increases biodiversity and ecological stability by allowing more agricultural species to grow on the same plot.
What are the Precision Seeding Requirements for Intercropping?
Corn has a tall stalk, while soybeans have a relatively short stem. As a result, corn leaves can shade soybeans and prevent them from being exposed to sunlight, making it difficult for soybeans to grow properly and resulting in suboptimal yields. The combination of tall and short stalks can be detrimental to both crops. For this reason, planting requirements are high in terms of density and row spacing. Planting patterns must be well planned and executed precisely to ensure the best results.
Figure 2. Precision seeding of corn and soybean with the CHCNAV's autosteer in Anhui, China.
What are the Benefits of Using an Autosteering System in Intercropping?
According to Mr. Chen, a president of Agricultural Machinery in Anhui, China, this was the first year his team used the CHCNAV autosteering system to intercrop corn and soybeans.
Figure 3. Mr. Chen, the president of Agricultural Machinery in Anhui, China.
Mr. Chen said: "Before, we did not use any guidance or automated steering systems. The seed rows were full of curves, which didn't contribute to a bountiful harvest. But this time, we used CHC Navigation's auto-steering system on 4 of our farm machines, and the results were amazing! With the system, planting is a simple task. The operator sets the parameters, and the tractor automatically follows the required row spacing for crops; whether it's 40 cm or 60 cm, the exact spacing width is always maintained.
In addition, the autosteering system supports guidance pattern sharing; the patterns of one vehicle can be shared among multiple vehicles to coordinate the work of numerous farm machines, greatly improving operational efficiency and reducing costs.
As a result, we have begun to use human resources more rationally, and daily work performance has improved significantly. We will equip our other tractors with this system in the future - we have dozens of them".
Figure 4. The CHCNAV's NX510 GNSS RTK auto-steering system, which is simple to install and easy to use, brings instant automation capability to agriculture machines for land preparation, seeding, planting, spraying, fertilizing, harvesting, and other applications.
What Complete Precision Farming Solutions Can CHCNAV Offer for Intercropping?
With a pass-to-pass accuracy of ±2.5 cm, the NX510 auto-steering system provides perfect row spacing control for corn and soybean plants, ensuring that each row is evenly spaced or alternated. Row spacing and seeding density are controlled through the use of the system; it not only allows sunlight to reach the lower plants and promote crop growth but also facilitates the reduction of pesticide spraying. All this adds value for all farmers, especially those like Mr. Chen, who need an intercropping solution.
Have a question about our solutions or dealership opportunities? Feel free to send an inquiry! We look forward to exploring how our expertise can benefit your business.
CHC Navigation (CHCNAV) creates innovative GNSS navigation and positioning solutions to make customers' work more efficient. CHCNAV products and solutions cover multiple industries such as geospatial, construction, agriculture and marine. With a presence across the globe, distributors in more than 120 countries and more than 1,700 employees, today CHC Navigation is recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in geomatics technologies. For more information about CHC Navigation [Huace:300627.SZ], please visit: https://www.chcnav.com/about-us/overview