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Using Field Research to Help Farmers Profit

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Ryan McAllister on PFR Proven

Ryan McAllisterThis is a time when farmers are looking for any way possible to generate more corn and soybean yield per acre in order to make a profit in 2017. Winter farm meetings are places to share ideas and farmers are walking away from Beck’s Hybrids Practical Farm Research Insight meetings with solid solutions to consider. This year the meetings are offering PFR Proven™ Practices and PFR Proven™ Products.

Ryan McAllister, Beck’s Practical Farm Research Director, says one example is the research-proven yield benefit with fungicide applications in both corn and soybeans applied at the right time.

“Timing is critical, so what we’ve found is at V5 if we apply a fungicide we can increase yield but we can’t make money. At V5 followed by VT we can make a little more yield but we just can’t make it profitable. But at VT, at tassel time, that’s the sweet spot and we’re making a little over $20 an acre. That’s multi-location, 3-year data. Hybrids differ in their response obviously, but more times than not that is paying.”

He said applying fungicide and insecticide on soybeans is crucial, but it must be at R3.

Fungicide R3 timing“So farmers first need to understand what R3 is,” he told HAT. “That’s when there’s a pod that’s 3/16th’s of an inch long in one of the uppermost four nodes of the plant. When they hit that time the breakeven soybean commodity price is around $5.75 a bushel. So, if the bean market is above $5.75 they’re making money. We’re getting that information from a seven-year study that we did in Practical Farm Research. If they go a little early and they hit it at R2 that breakeven is about $11.49, so at today’s prices you can’t make money.”

Later than R3 also doesn’t pay. McAllister says you have about a week to make the application, so scouting for R3 is also critical. He recommends farmers start their own trials of any practices that might work for them.

“Because their farming practices, their fields are different than ours, whether they’re tiled or not tiled. There’s all kinds of yield limiting variables that they have that we may or may not have, and so we think it’s extremely important that they do that. We give them a means by which they can do it called PFR Partners. When someone does an on-farm test, testing anything they want frankly, we’ll help them do that.”

PFR Proven™ is granted by Beck’s only if strict criteria are met, criteria that suggest farmers could very likely get positive return on investment on their own farms. PFR Proven™ Practices are multi-year, multi-location studies that are proven management strategies that continue to pay, year after year after. PFR Proven™ Products are individual products that have provided yield gains and a positive return on investment in PFR for a minimum of three years.

There are just four remaining Indiana PFR meetings. They are scheduled for Wednesday night in Atlanta at the Beck’s home office, Thursday night in Elwood, and twice on February 7th in Warrenton at the Log Inn Restaurant.