Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
The advancements in multi-hybrid planting have been deeply rooted in Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)®. In 2011, Beck’s PFR team created their own multi-hybrid planter prototype and in 2012 became a leader in the multi-hybrid corn planting system. The positive results of Beck’s research lead Kinze to develop their 4900 multi-hybrid concept planter. This was the first planter to market that allowed farmers to change hybrids or varieties according to management zones within a field. Then, in 2015, Precision Planting released its vSet Select Meter, enabling multi-hybrid planting on Case, Kinze, and John Deere planters.
Going into our fifth year of research, our multi-hybrid planting data is some of the most comprehensive in the industry. In this PFR report, we wanted to share with you the four-year summary and results of our research to date.
The multi-hybrid research that Beck’s has conducted has involved the following treatments:
Defensive hybrid planted on low productivity zones
Offensive hybrid planted on high productivity zones
Defensive hybrid planted on high productivity zones
Offensive hybrid planted on low productivity zones
The characterization of “defensive” and “offensive” hybrids is derived from Beck’s classification of products based upon significant testing. Each product Beck’s sells is given a suitability rating to place that hybrid in the right yield environment. For example, products with high yield potential on high producing soils are classified as “HP” and would be termed “offensive” in this research. Products that perform better in low-yielding environments such as drought prone soils are characterized as “LP” or best suited for less productive soils. These products are termed as “defensive” in this research.
This study has been tested across 48 sites over four years. In that time, the yield advantage for the defensive hybrid over the offensive hybrid in less productive soils was 6.3 Bu./A. This delivered an income advantage of $32/A. In the high productivity soils, the offensive hybrid outperformed the defensive hybrid by 8.2 Bu./A. or $43/A.
When creating multi-hybrid prescriptions, questions about the accuracy of genetic selection for the various yield zones often arise. Keep in mind, when seed companies replace hybrids with new genetics that are 10 Bu./A. better, the old hybrid will still beat the new one 40 to 45 percent of the time. In our research, we’ve successfully selected the best hybrid for the highly productive soils 74 percent of the time. In less productive zones, we chose the defensive hybrid with 82 percent accuracy. While there is room for improvement in genetic selection, our accuracy in prediction is industry leading. The regional selection of Beck’s products, coupled with the unique classification system that better enables product selection across field landscapes, has resulted in the yield gains we have seen with multi-hybrid planting.
We do realize that not all multi-hybrid research in the industry shows the significant advantage that Beck’s PFR has seen. These differences can be explained in part due to our product classification system, as well as the choice of sites with significant yield variability. Based upon these results, we believe farmers who encounter significant yield variability in their fields could profit by adopting a multi-hybrid planting system. Though less characterized, we also see great potential for multi-variety planting in soybeans. Beck’s PFR will be conducting an increased number of multi-soybean variety tests in 2016 and will bring you those results in the fall.
Author: Ryan McAllister
Categories: PFR, PFR Reports
Tags: Practical Farm Research, multi-hybrid planting, PFR, PFR Report, Scott Nelson, Multi-Hybrid, Kinzie 4900, Variable Rate Prescriptions
Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.
6/29/2016 1:48 PM
It has been my experience that seed dealers particularly with Pioneer are reluctant to discuss and recommend multi hybrid. I believe that they are a bit afraid of the potential liability for not recommend the correct hybrid to utilize multi hybrid planting, How is Becks supporting their dealers with multi hybrd prescriptions?
Secondly, do you believe that if the equipment was capable would 3 or 4 hybrids be better for ground that has high variability. 2 hoppers filled with offensive, 1 each filled with defensive on 4 hybrid planting.
7/18/2016 12:22 PM
Generally speaking, all seed companies recommend their products by field. We view a zone as a subset of a field. Hybrid selection by field is not a 100% exact science. Neither is zone selection. However based on our experience, we can select proper placement by field and place the appropriate hybrids in a multi-hybrid environment better than our competition. We support our dealers 100% in zone creation and multi-hybrid placement and do not ask our dealers to do that on their own. We will do that for them.
As to your question if three or four hybrids would be better for highly variable soils, that remains to be seen. However, personally, I don’t believe that hybrid placement or differences among hybrid classifications is so specific today as to warrant that. There is simply not enough data available to answer your question without doubt. That’s why we have our Practical Farm Research (PFR)® Program. Overtime, we seek to answer great questions like yours. If you would like to discuss this in any further detail, don’t hesitate to call.
Ryan McAllister, Beck’s PFR Director
9/16/2016 10:08 AM
Do you have data that includes variable rate population and multi-hybrid in the same study for corn? Could we achieve equivalent results by adjusting population within these HP & LP zones?