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CropTalk: First Look at the 2022 PFR Book

November 2022

Published on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Innovation has always been at the heart of farming, and that’s why we developed Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® program. Since 1964, Beck’s has provided farmers with the most comprehensive, innovative, and practical agronomic research on hundreds of practices, inputs, and equipment.

Each year, we conduct hundreds of studies to deliver unbiased agronomic information to help farmers make better, more profitable decisions for their operations. With seven dedicated sites and five cooperator sites consisting of over 1,000 acres, our study protocols include three to five replications of every study at three to five different locations to provide confidence in the results we publish. Not only does PFR help farmers determine what products and practices will increase yields, but more importantly, it helps them determine what will increase their return on investment (ROI).

 

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2022?

Our program and the studies we implement continue to evolve as new technologies and ideas are constantly presented to farmers for their consideration and purchase. Growers have few places to turn for sound, unbiased information to help them decide what technologies and ideas may have merit for their operation. That’s why we go directly to our customers to ask what they want to know that would help them increase ROI on their farm.

It is those answers that help form the backbone of our research every year to inform and drive our PFR studies. For the 2022 planting season, Beck’s PFR is conducting studies that investigate new technologies and answer age-old questions, all in the name of helping farmers be more profitable.

 

Improved In-Season Decision Making

Growers face in-season decisions around issues that have impacted their crops every year. From frost, hail, and reduced stands, to replant decisions, these are just a few factors that drive in-season adjustments to management plans.

Our in-season decision-making studies aim to determine, long-term, how we can use PFR to make better, more actionable real-time decisions when faced with factors out of our control. Many studies, like the Thin Stand Management, Replant Threshold, Hail, and Frost studies, are in their third year of testing. Expect to see some NEW PFR Proven™ data from these results and additional years of testing on others as we implement additional years of research to gain a higher level of confidence in the data.

In addition to publishing results from our three-year, multi-location studies, we have data from some exciting first-year studies focused on Short Corn Studies, Tire Pressure, Urea Coating, and Hail on soybeans that we hope will help guide indecision decision-making in the future.

 

On-Farm, Field-Scale Research

Beck’s PFR is on-farm research because we replicate scenarios and conditions that farmers face, year in and year out. But there is some research that even we cannot do in plots, which is why we implemented the next ideation of PFR; on-farm studies.

Over the last five years, ground vs. aerial-applied fungicide applications has been one of the most highly requested studies from farmers throughout our marketing area. However, implementing a study like this in a plot scenario is not feasible. Similarly, we recognize the need for field-scale level research for some of our equipment studies to gather more accurate, real-life information that accounts for undulations and variability.

We hope that by taking some of the most popular or most requested studies and conducting them on a larger scale in a controlled environment with specific protocols, we can deliver valuable data to farmers to make more informed decisions for their operations. Some studies to look out for in this year’s book include aerial vs. ground fungicide applications, fieldscale closing wheels, high-speed trials, broadcast vs. banding, and a combine concave study.

 

NEW STUDY WATCHOUT

This year’s PFR Book will bring expanded agronomic knowledge to the table – including more studies and recommendations than ever before! Some of our exciting new studies that will be highlighted include:

Tire Pressure Studies: What if we could change tire pressure on the go and increase our footprint to spread the load over more square inches? Beck’s is testing multiple technologies to see what impact tire pressure can have on yield and soil density. Look for our Tire Pressure Study – Planter Tractor on corn and soybeans.

Short Corn Studies: Summer windstorms and high-clearance machines that can apply fungicide are two factors driving interest in short corn and short corn breeding. How might these hybrids react to nitrogen rates? Can we get by with less carrier rate on a spray pass if we have less plant mass? A few of the ideas we have started testing this year using short corn include a row width and population study, a nitrogen rate study, and a fungicide carrier rate study.

Nitrogen Management Studies: When discussing nitrogen, we often talk about the 4Rs approach, and, in PFR, we’re testing different methods to learn about timing, rate, source, and placement. This year we initiated NINE new nitrogen studies to address these issues. These include:

• Nutrient Efficiency Study – Utrisha™ N

• Nitrogen Coating Study – Urea

• Nitrogen Placement Study 2x2x2 vs. Stream Bar

• Nitrogen Rate Study – Furrow Irrigation

• Variable Rate Nitrogen Study – Furrow-Irrigation

• Nitrogen Rate X Systems Study

• Sidedress Depth Study • Nitrogen Rate Study – Short Corn

 

The 2022 PFR Book will be published in December, and you can expect books to hit mailboxes before Christmas!

 

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Maggie Holt
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Maggie Holt

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