Published on Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Since 1964, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® has strived to help farmers find new ways to better manage their farms and increase their ROI. So, what better place to start than with Beck’s farmers on our seed production team. To learn more about the PFR management practices and products used across the company’s seed corn and soybean production acres, I sat down with Darin Lucas, Beck’s production location agronomist in Atlanta, IN.
HOW IS BECK’S UTILIZING PFR INFORMATION?
Encompassing PFR Proven™ Success Strategies in Corn
Continuing to push the historical threshold of getting corn planted early, the seed production crew has seen noticeably better kernel depth and quality across multiple years, supporting our data that early planting pays. All of the production team’s corn planters are suited with PFR Proven Yetter Poly Twisters on each row. This year, the team is also trying out the 2x2x2 system on units across one of their high-speed planters to observe how it works in this scenario. They also follow the PFR Proven fungicide timing for corn to achieve the most profitable fungicide application at the VT growth stage.
Encompassing PFR Proven Success Strategies in Soybeans
Like corn planting, getting soybeans planted early, in mid-to late-April, has shown a consistent yield increase of over 10 Bu./A. over the last seven years across Beck’s production acres. All of the soybean acres, after continuous corn rotations, are treated with Beck’s Escalate® seed treatment and then double inoculated to provide protection from disease and insects. The narrower, the better when it comes to row width; Beck’s production soybeans are planted in 15-in. rows, and seeding rates are increased with later planting dates. Fungicide applications are made at the R3 growth stage (3/16 in. pod at one of the top four nodes), which is the optimal time identified by PFR.
What Other PFR Practices and Products are the Production Team Using?
The seed production team takes several steps when preparing to plant a farm to soybeans. Utilizing cover crops for erosion control and weed suppression, along with getting enough growth before kill, is a major advantage they have found. Researching good burndown programs best suited for each operation is also something PFR has and will continue to test. For seed production, they have found that no-till fields going into seed corn benefit from a fall and spring burndown each year. Putting the Power in the Pre® is a practice that they also implement, utilizing three or four modes of action (MOAs) across different acres to provide greater success in their herbicide programs.
What Will Production Utilize From PFR Data Next?
After running some 2x2x2 units this year, the production team hopes to implement the system across more planters in the operation as well. They will continue to evaluate the results of current and future PFR compaction studies as they incorporate new equipment and practices. The seed production team will be utilizing an 8RX track sprayer this growing season and trying a new sugar product with starter and foliar timing.
Biggest Things to Keep in Mind for the 2022 Growing Season?
It’s important to proactively plan ahead for years that may mimic the conditions of 2019 by maximizing available planting windows as often as possible, and being aware of droughts in the West. Moreover, it is crucial to recognize when not to plant (when it’s too wet or muddy) to avoid compaction issues later in the season. Given the current supply chain issues, Beck’s seed production team is actively preparing for the 2023 crop season by planning and evaluating what product supply carryover or future needs they will have. Darin also stressed the importance of implementing agronomic fundamentals, “trying to do things right the first time,” and being good stewards of the land.
Author: Ellie Schuler
Categories: CropTalk, 2022
Tags: corn, soybeans, Practical Farm Research, PFR, Success Strategies, Production