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CropTalk: Talking PFR, Part 1

October 2020

Published on Thursday, October 1, 2020

Location Leads from three of the six Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® sites are eager to share their answers on common questions from the 2020 growing season. Jonathan Perkins, Southern Illinois (SIL) Location Lead, will provide insights on what’s happening at the Effingham, Illinois, site, Jared Chester from the London, Ohio, PFR facility, and Brandon Somers from the Henderson, Kentucky, location.

1. How many corn and soybean studies did you conduct at your location this year?

SIL: 16 corn studies and 33 soybean studies, plus 13 herbicide studies.

OH: 37 corn studies and 32 soybean studies.

KY: 29 corn and 29 soybean studies this year.

2. What is your favorite PFR Proven™ product/practice and why?

SIL: When I think about nitrogen (N) stewardship, I think about the 4R strategy: right source, right rate, right timing, and right placement. We have data that is already PFR Proven™, or in the process of becoming PFR Proven, to help farmers make those decisions with data behind them!

OH: Spiked closing wheels on corn and soybeans. It’s a simple change that most farmers can implement and see an instant benefit from.

KY: My favorite PFR Proven practice is soybean population and timing. For years, many of us in PFR had the mindset to get our corn planted first, then worry about planting soybeans. We have found throughout testing different planting dates and populations over the last five years that there is, on average, a $146.49/A. advantage by planting soybeans prior to May 15 compared to later in the season. If we can adapt to earlier planting for our crops, we can significantly increase yield and ROI for soybeans.

3. What study (studies) have farmers been interested in most this year at your site?

SIL: Herbicide studies. Our insight area has become one of the most valuable tools in our toolbox for helping farmers make informed decisions on weed control.

OH: On corn – hydraulic downforce studies and the sulfur timing study. On soybeans – the planting date study – variety response and anything regarding soybean herbicide and trait technology choices.

KY: There has been a lot of interest in our soybean replant threshold study this year. In this study, we are looking at low population with sporadically spaced soybeans compared to a normal population planted a month later. It has shown some good visuals as to the amount of branching that soybeans will do to make up for the lower populations. It has made a lot of us question some of the replant decisions that we have made in the past.

4. From everything we have tried this year in PFR, what study has had the most visual differences at your site?

SIL: The herbicide studies have shown the most visual differences out of anything at our location.

OH: Hydraulic downforce on corn and soybeans.

KY: Our nutrient management study on corn — when we looked at the striptill treatments with banded fertilizer compared to the conventional-till with broadcasted fertilizer, we saw much darker green, healthier plants. Throughout the season, we were one half to a full growth stage ahead with the strip-till treatments compared to the conventional.

5. What has been your favorite new study this year and why?

SIL: Replant threshold and replant spotting in. Replant is an emotional decision every year, and the structure of these new studies will help provide a valuable resource for farmers to help remove the emotion in the future.

OH: Planting date variety response on soybeans. It’s been a great plot to show farmers why early planting pays on soybeans. This plot has had great teaching visuals all summer long and has been the introduction to several discussions, including, ‘Should you plant your soybeans or corn first?’

KY: The thin stand fungicide management plot on corn has been one of my favorites this year. It is not one that has shown great visuals, but when we face years like 2019 and have questionable stands that Mother Nature forces us to keep, fungicide applications are always hard decisions to make because of the lower yield potential. We are also doing the same thing with nitrogen management on thin stands.

6. Favorite part about working in PFR?

SIL: Working every day beside the legendary Joe Bolte, SIL PFR Technician/ Herbicide Specialist! My favorite part is being able to take the knowledge we acquire and help farmers make profitable management decisions on their farms!

OH: The people. Getting to work and interact with the quality coworkers, dealers, and farmers found at Beck’s is very motivating and rewarding. These relationships help us stay energized and constantly looking for things to test in PFR that will help farmers and our company succeed.

KY: Helping farmers. I love getting to try new products and technologies, and pass that information on to farmers so that they know what works and what doesn’t.

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Author: Deatra Gremaux

Categories: CropTalk, 2020

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