One practical takeaway from a round of winter agronomy meetings is that soybean farmers might save some money on seed costs by lowering their seeding rates. Jim Schwartz, director of PFR and agronomy at Beck’s Hybrids says it might be strange for a seed company to be testing and talking about the use of less seed, but this year was the 9th year of the study and the results are worth a look.
“We continue to see that the economic optimum seeding rates for soybeans tends to be a little bit lower than many growers might be planting,” Schwartz told HAT. “We see that 125 to that 100,000 seeds per acre to be the economic optimum seeding rate, and yet we still have a lot of growers who are planting 150, 160, 170,00.”
At their winter PFR Insight meetings they’re encouraging growers to test different rates on their own ground.
“We’re not saying go plant 100,000 or even 115 or 1120,000. What we are saying is if you are planting in that 160,000-180,000 seeding rates, every 10,000 seeds that you cut back can save you around $4 an acre. So, we think if you’re 160, why don’t you try planting some strips in fields at 150 or 140, save yourself $8-10 an acre, and you’re not going to sacrifice hardly any yield. Our data would say, and we’re pretty confident in this multi-year, multi-location data, you’re not going to sacrifice yield, but you are going to improve your economics.”
In a first time PFR study of applying starter fertility on both sides of the row in corn plots, they call it 2x2x2, Schwartz says they realized a 6-bushel yield bump. Hear more on that from Schwartz in the HAT interview:Jim-Schwartz-on-Becks-PFR
Last week Beck’s announced an expansion at their El Paso, Ill. facility. Consolidating locations in central Illinois, Beck’s sold their Downs, Ill. facility to Horsch and is relocating their Practical Farm Research (PFR)® site to El Paso.
“Each day we strive to not only deliver farmers with the highest quality seed, but we look for opportunities to improve processes, facilities and programs that will ultimately help farmers succeed,” said Scott Beck, president of Beck’s. “By consolidating facilities, farmers will now have access to our agronomic PFR program, product testing, distribution and sales support all at one location in central Illinois. Helping farmers succeed is at the core of everything we do, and this move is a reflection of our continued commitment to Illinois farmers.”
El Paso will now be home to one of Beck’s six PFR locations, which are located across five states. In 2017, Beck’s PFR conducted more than 500 different studies designed with the farmer in mind to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. Farmers can expect to tour PFR studies during the 2018 growing season and attend the first-ever Beck’s Field Show in El Paso on August 9, 2018.