What started as a 300-bushel attempt 35 years ago has turned into a 400-bushel attempt at the Beck’s facility in Atlanta, Indiana. CEO Sonny Beck says they were routinely hitting 300-bushel of corn on their test plot, so they upped the ante.
“We’re going to try all the practices that are not economical at this point in time, but we’re going to try them and then find out what it does take. Money is not an object on this six-acre field. Once we find that, then we’ll find out how to make it economical for the future. So, the practices that we learned in our 300-bushel attempt for 30 years are now being used by normal farmers out in the field. What we’re learning here in this 400-bushel will be valuable for the future.”
“It’s a whole systems approach. We have proper drainage on the field. We have pre-plant fertility that’s allowing us to get out there. We’re having high planting population to put out there, and then we’re also able to feed it in-season to manage that crop all season long to help us. We set that yield trajectory high with our pre-plant fertility, but we can maintain that yield and produce high test weight corn through our drip irrigation and with nutrients and the water throughout the season along with fungicide applications.”
Wiegmann says one thing they are learning from the experiment is, “Sulfur is becoming really important, in corn especially. Boron, through foliar nutrition applications or foliar applications, is really important right before and after that pollination time period. We’re also seeing how important zinc is.”
They are also able to test their modern hybrids and varieties to find the highest yield they can obtain. Wiegmann says they’re optimistic that they’ll hit 400 this year or come very close.
While the focus of the plot is primarily corn, they are also striving for 125-bushel soybeans.