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CropTalk: Talking PFR, Part 2

November 2020

Published on Monday, November 2, 2020

Location leads from three of Beck’s six Practical Farm Research (PFR)® sites are eager to share their answers on common questions stemming from the 2020 growing season. Location Lead Caleb Shoemaker provides insight on what’s happening at the Colfax, Iowa, site along with Clayton Stufflebeam from the Central Illinois (El Paso) site and Brady Rogers from our Indiana PFR site.

How many corn and soybean studies did you conduct at your location this year?

IA: 20 corn studies, including two offsite plots, and 16 soybean studies

CIL: 31 corn and 24 soybean studies

IN: 37 corn and 31 soybean studies

What has been your favorite new study this year and why?

IA: Nitrogen systems is my favorite new study. We have taken various UAN and anhydrous ammonia systems and tested them side-by-side. I like this study because it allows farmers to compare their nitrogen system to other common nitrogen practices.

CIL: The continuation of high-speed planting and the addition of FurrowForce® from Precision Planting. This is important to determine if we can become more effi cient and plant more acres in a targeted planting window. When targeting these windows, we still need to do a good job. Is that possible? I think it is, but data from year number two of this study will give us a better visual.

IN: The replant spotting-in study is a reallife study that can help farmers make better decisions every single year. This study helps farmers decide if they should spot-in soybeans in low standing areas of the fi eld and it can even help them decide if they should leave the original planted crop.

What is your favorite PFR Proven™ product/practice and why?

IA: The 2x2x2 UAN is my favorite PFR Proven™ practice for higher management systems because it allows us to place a nitrogen source close to the seed and supply sufficient nitrogen to the corn until we make our sidedress application. My favorite Proven product for every operation is a spiked closing wheel. No matter the tillage system, spiked closing wheels have shown the most consistent ROI for many years across multiple locations and varying soil types.

CIL: The 2x2x2 planter attachments. I am from a farm that primarily used NH3 as its nitrogen source. We can utilize the 2x2x2 systems to take some of the pressure off NH3, especially as a single application.

IN: My favorite is the 2x2x2 studies because of the consistent results. It seems like every year we test these systems, regardless of the planting date or weather patterns, 2x2x2 always seems to pay!

What study (studies) have farmers been interested in most this year at your site?

IA: Nitrogen systems has been a popular study this year in Iowa along with our nitrogen depth and placement studies.

CIL: The disc opener study (new in 2019) prompted interest in 2020. We also have an agronomist trial here at the CIL PFR site. In this trial, we challenged different teams to develop a plan for the growing season. The teams are competing for the highest yield and return on investment. This area has sparked curiosity as well.

IN: Fungicide applications to soybeans at R3. It’s a PFR Proven practice that pays at the R3 growth stage, regardless of disease pressure.

From everything we have tried this year in PFR, what study has had the most visual differences at your site?

IA: Our soybean planting date by variety study has been interesting to watch throughout the season. With four varieties ranging from a 2.5 to a 3.9 maturity planted on three different dates, we have observed differences in height and pod set. Analyzing the data from this study will help us understand how or if we should be changing our soybean variety based on the calendar.

CIL: The 2x2x2 studies. I have never seen preferential root growth in a 2x2 application like I have this year. Seeing the root structure evenly distributed in a 2x2x2 scenario versus a 2x2 means we are doing something right.

IN: Our nutrient placement study on corn takes the cake on this question. We were seeing a two-growth stage advantage before V5 on a banded nutrient application compared to a notill and conventional-till broadcast. Also, the root masses are visually astonishing when comparing the treatments.

What’s your favorite part about working in PFR?

IA: We have a great team, which makes working in PFR enjoyable. My favorite part is having the ability to evaluate our data and help farmers make informed decisions to be more successful.

CIL: Being able to farm and test new equipment and practices. It gives me the chance to learn firsthand and apply the plot results that work on my own operation and help other farms on their operations. When I was fresh out of college I would always say, ‘I get to farm without risk.’ I cannot believe I get the opportunity to have this position!

IN: Always being able to test the latest and greatest — which makes our work interesting and exciting. Also, being able to help a farmer create more profi tability on his farm and making an impact in that regards. 

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Author: Deatra Gremaux

Categories: CropTalk, 2020

Tags: CropTalk, PFR

Deatra Gremaux
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