Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh

Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh
Director of Research

Beck's Research and Development

Beck’s Hybrids has one of the largest seed testing and breeding programs in the Eastern Corn Belt. Since we are farmers too, the research program is driven to reflect what is most important to farmers – germination, emergence, standability, plant health, and yield.

Corn Breeding

Beck’s Hybrids corn breeders are utilizing the latest breeding technologies, including rapid inbred development through the use of dihaploid technology. They also practice genome-wide selection with a state-of-the-art molecular marker laboratory. With the use of a trait introgression program, Beck’s is able to quickly incorporate the latest traits that customers demand. Beck’s corn breeding program involves breeding nurseries from Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Multistage Testing

Beck’s Hybrids intense multistage testing program allows Beck’s to select and develop products that will out-yield the competition and provide a distinct regional advantage. Because of Beck’s Hybrids regionalization, the product selection program has an advantage over the multinational companies.

Beck’s accomplishes this regional advantage through its replicated testing program and its Choice Trials. The replicated testing program is used to identify products in an early stage with commercial potential. Then Beck’s utilizes its Choice Trials program, which is an on farm testing program, to test pre-commercial products and identify specifically the best area of adaptation. With Beck’s research team intensively characterizing the products at these sites, the highest performing products can be identified and offered to Beck’s customers.

Selection Testing

Look at the map below. Although the green hybrid won more plots across the country, it wasn't the best product in Beck’s Hybrids marketing area. The red hybrid was the best, which is the product Beck’s Hybrids would choose to sell. Some of Beck’s competitors that have larger marketing areas would prefer to raise fewer products. They pick products that do a “good” job rather than the “best” job across a large geography. For them, it’s more about how profits and economy of scale. For Beck’s Hybrids, it’s about how the product performs on your farm. Click here to listen to Dr. Cavanaugh, director of research, explain how Beck's Hybrids regional testing program is different from competitors.