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CropTalk: Putting PFR into Practice, Part 2

September 2020

Published on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Beck’s has six Practical Farm Research (PFR)® sites spread throughout the Midwest in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Iowa. PFR does testing in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin though cooperators, and customers and dealers alike are implementing PFR Proven™ strategies on their farms. Follow along throughout the 2020 growing season to see how they put Beck’s PFR into practice.

1. How have closing wheels impacted your operations this year?

ROB: Pleased with results during planting. We have seen an advantage of spiked closing wheels over rubbers.

CHAD: Using Yetter Poly Twisters on our farm has helped to close the seed trench and provide consistent, even emergence.

KEVIN: We are yet again pleased with using closing wheels to get our crops out of the ground quickly.

2. What were the overall weather conditions in your area since April?

ROB: With some cold nights in May, we had some slow emergence on a bit of our corn, which caused us to have a little bit of replant on corn and soybeans. Overall crop conditions are average to slightly above where we are.

CHAD: Excellent crop conditions, some replant in June. No significant rain events occurred to drown out our crops.

KEVIN: Off to a good start for planting, with some rain. Overall, good stands for corn and soybeans this year, we replanted early June — about 10% of our corn acres. Excellent crop to this point.

3. What Beck’s advice have you implemented this growing season?

ROB: The biggest piece of advice this year has been from PFR: using spiked closing wheels and added the 2x2x2 fertilizer system to our planter.

CHAD: We made two applications of eXceed™ Nano Brown Sugar on soybeans (PFR Proven™) and fungicide passes on corn and soybeans. On corn, we used Delaro™ 325 SC (PFR Proven) and Lucento® on soybeans — which PFR is testing out.

KEVIN: From PFR advice, we have used Start Right with popup on corn, layered residuals with soybean herbicides, topdressed corn V5/V6, applied the fungicide Veltyma™ on corn at VT, soybeans we used a boron product with our first post-emergence pass, and applied Revytek™ with an insecticide. We also used a foliar fertilizer product with potassium and sulfur.

4. What challenges have you had this growing season?

ROB: Flooding. Several hundred acres that went under water, some slow emergence from some spring weather, mixed with replant.

CHAD: Always fighting the weather.

KEVIN: Working around the weather, no supply chain issues this season during the pandemic. The Mt. Pleasant Beck’s location and MO dealer network has worked together well this season!

5. What have you learned this season?

ROB: How much bad weather early planted soybeans can tolerate. Some soybeans planted on April 20 went through three nights of mid 20°F temperatures, and handled large rain events the middle of May. Where we received five to six in. of rain, those early planted soybeans still look our best by far!

CHAD: Our soybeans have been short all season; now they are flowering and setting pods. It’s important to remember the height of the bean plant doesn’t determine the yield outcome. Give the crop time to branch out — let weather run its course.

KEVIN: When the conditions are right, go ahead and plant — we worried early about seed chilling early on, but the soil conditions were right for planting corn. PFR highlights the importance of early planting crops in the PFR Book.

6. What in-season management decisions have you had to make this year?

ROB: Our biggest surprise — some weed control issues with waterhemp and marestail because soybeans were slower to emerge. We applied Priaxor® fungicide (PFR Proven) with an insecticide on soybeans. We made corn fungicide passes at VT (PFR Proven timing) — Trivapro® (PFR proven) and Veltyma™ (new PFR testing product). We also applied eXceed™ Nano Brown Sugar (PFR Proven) in a foliar application on soybeans.

CHAD: For corn, we applied generic Callisto® and RoundUp PowerMAX®. On soybeans, we made two trips of Liberty® with a ground rig. We applied an insecticide on corn when the airplane sprayed fungicide. We will spray an insecticide on soybeans if aphids come in.

KEVIN: We had some resprays due to environmental conditions — very minor. To control Japanese beetles in soybeans — fungicides and insecticides helped. Low feeding in corn this year. We made a glufosinate-glyphosate pass with Outlook® on our Freedom Plus® soybeans. Corn — Armezon® PRO pass for early post.

7. What was the most impactful decision you have made this year?

ROB: Replant issue: replanted corn in June that we were hesitant to do. June 5th planted: uniform emergence, looks great.

CHAD: Big results from nitrogen on the planter and split application of corn. Corn has looked as good as it has ever looked this year.

KEVIN: Biggest changes we are making: more intensively managing soybeans with applications of foliar fertilizer, fungicides, and insecticides. Variable rate population on corn. Maximizing genetic capabilities with seed advisors to get the right placement on the right acre.

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Deatra Gremaux
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Deatra Gremaux

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