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Five Takeaways from Beck’s Hybrids

Two camps between Liberty and Xtend Soybeans for 2018 are forming.

Competing herbicide-tolerant camp formation, more future diverse trait offerings, and foliar fertilizer for soybeans are some of the points that Beck’s Hybrids officials talked about at a mid-August field show in Colfax, Iowa. Here are five of them. 

• Two camps are forming for 2018 regarding dicamba-tolerant soybeans in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend System. This technology has been challenged by off-target dicamba movement this summer. http://http://www.agriculture.com/crops/soybeans/why-dicamba-tolerant-soybean-technology-is-in-trouble
 “Some will say, ‘I will plant all Xtend (next year) because I am afraid of anything drifting on my fields,” says Scott Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. “Another camp will say, ‘I will plant Liberty because I don’t want any drift or volatilization (from dicamba) going on my neighbors.’ ”

• Generally, yield potential across all soybean trait technology platforms is similar among Beck’s soybean varieties. 
 “We sometimes see differences among maturities, where one technology might be strong in earlier maturities, and another technology might be stronger in late maturities,” says Beck. But as a whole, the platforms are comparable. We see parity among yields.”

• More diverse traits are on the way.
Crop traits in the future won’t just be herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant. Traits on the way also include those that resist abiotic stress, improve nitrogen utilization, boost drought tolerance, and sport yield-enhancement genes, says Beck.

• Think that all organic farmers sport sandals, beads, and ponytails? Well, no. They’re all business, says David Ross, sales and operations manager for Great Harvest Organics. This is a division of Beck’s Hybrids that’s aiming at the booming organic market.

 “Millennials are driving growth for organics, particularly in urban population centers,” says Ross. “There is growing consumer interest that centers around the desire for transparency in supply chain, and to know where food comes from.” 

He adds that organic sales have grown from $3.6 billion in 1997 annually to $43 billion annually in 2015, and are rapidly accelerating.

This organic division uses the same germplasm that Beck’s Hybrids does in its trait and conventional seed offerings, says Beck. “Farmers are looking at more opportunities for income,” he says. “Organic is one way farmers can improve revenue.”

• Foliar fertilizer applications can give soybeans a shot in the arm. However, they won’t help if nutrients are lacking in the soil profile.
“It’s a myth that foliar nutrients are a replacement for soil fertility,” says Chad Kalaher, Beck’s Hybrids field agronomist. “They are a supplement.”

First make sure you have your bases covered with a good soybean soil fertility plan, he says. 

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