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CropTalk: Early-Season PFR Proven™

April 2021

Published on Thursday, April 1, 2021

Spring is here! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to look through the 2020 PFR Book and pick out a PFR Proven™ product or practice to try for 2021. With planting season here, we wanted to share a few early-season PFR Proven products and practices to consider implementing on your farm this spring.

PLANTING DATE: When should you plant your corn and soybeans? Based on our long-term, multi-location data, we have seen the greatest yield advantage when planting early. Everyone’s definition of early planting is different. To see a map of optimal planting dates for corn, see page 18 in your 2020 PFR Book.

What’s interesting is that 15-year dataset from our Indiana PFR site shows an even greater advantage to planting soybeans early vs. corn. We believe that the soybean plant’s ability to compensate for uneven emergence and reduced plant stand is one of the main reasons why.

PFR PRACTICAL TIP: Be prepared to plant early if the opportunity presents. Consider prioritizing planting soybeans early versus corn — especially if conditions are marginal, soils are cool, or the forecast is not favorable.


Pre-Plant Products: Amplify-D® is a dry, seed box additive that is applied at planting and encourages faster and more uniform corn emergence. This PFR Proven product averaged a $13.56 return on investment over four years of testing.



In-Furrow Products: Planting Early Into Cool Soils: Choose orthophosphate-containing starter fertilizers such as Puregrade® Diamond 6-24-6 or NACHURS Impulse® 10-18-4. Planting in Saturated Soils and/or Forecast is Trending Wet: Consider adding an in-furrow protection product. Ethos® XB from FMC combines an insecticide with a broad spectrum bio-fungicide that will form a protective barrier on the root system to help protect the corn plant from early-season disease and insects. Low Organic Soils: Consider an in-furrow sugar product that will provide a food source for the biology in the soil. The two in-furrow sugar products currently designated as PFR Proven are Feed Grade Dextrose and eXceed™ Nano Brown Sugar.

Starter Fertilizer: The ability to band early-season nutrition, especially nitrogen (N), in close proximity to the row is a great way to buffer against the weather and set your corn crop up for success. Start Right is a PFR Proven Biological product that can be added to your 2x2 application and in our 4 years of testing averaged a 9.8 bu/A. yield advantage and $39.66 ROI.

CLOSING WHEEL: Beck’s PFR data has consistently shown a strong advantage to any spiked closing wheels over two solid rubbers. The strongest advantage for spiked closing wheels are found in marginal planting conditions.

PFR PRACTICAL TIP: Unless you plant every acre in perfect conditions, we highly recommend spiked closing wheels on both corn and soybeans. When choosing a spiked wheel, tillage, soil type, and the use of cover crops must be considered to ensure proper selection.

WRAPPING UP: Hopefully one of these topics will spark your interest with something new to try to increase your yields and profitability in 2021. If you have any questions about these topics or products, reach out to your local Beck’s representative or PFR team member.

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Jared Chester

Jared Chester

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