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Sponsored: Early PFR Results

Each winter the team at Beck’s sits down to determine the Practical Farm Research (PFR)® studies for the upcoming season and how we can help farmers succeed. What can we do to improve yield and ultimately increase a farmer’s return on investment (ROI)? What practices are farmers curious about? Last winter, a focus of our PFR planning was to use multiple genetic families within a study to determine what role they may play in the results of a study.

Row Starter Study

This summer, Beck’s PFR implemented this new plan in a row starter study where we tested a fast emerger versus a slower emerger. In our nitrogen (N) studies we tested both an efficient N user and a hybrid with a higher N response. We also took the opportunity to monitor different products in our population studies by comparing products with known low, medium, and high responses to population. At Beck’s, we already work with farmers on product placement but we also want to improve the science of product management. We have seen a high degree of success of placing products field by field, but can we better manage agronomic practices by genetic family? And by improving both our product placement and agronomic management, can we further increase our yields and optimize our ROI?

Foliar Time and Temperature Study

Another study in which we implemented multiple genetic families was our Foliar Time and Temperature study where we applied Versa Max™ Corn at two different times and temperature combinations. The first was at 8:00 a.m. at a temperature of 70°F, and the second was at 3:30 p.m. with a temperature of 88°F. Previous PFR research has shown that the use of Versa Max Corn resulted in an average increase of 7.5 Bu./A. and an average ROI increase of $34.47. Our first goal in this study was to determine if we could further increase our ROI by applying this foliar product earlier in the day. We also used the products XL® 5665AMX™*brand and BECK 5829A4brand in both of these treatments. The product XL® 5665AMX™*brand is known to have a higher N response while BECK 5829A4brand is a more efficient N user. With this in mind, we wanted to determine if these different genetic families would impact the results of this foliar product study.

In Figure 1, the use of Versa Max™ Corn in the afternoon (teal bars) resulted in similar yields regardless of the hybrid tested. When we applied this product in the morning (navy bars) when temperatures were cooler and stomata were open to readily take in the product, we saw clear hybrid differences. The more efficient N user (BECK 5829A4brand) shows a yield increase of 2.4 Bu./A. with the morning application. The hybrid XL® 5665AMX™*brand (which showed a higher N response) also seemed to show more of a micronutrient response with a 6.0 Bu./A. increase when applied in the morning. This study further demonstrates the importance of product management. This is the first year for this study and it was only conducted at one location. Therefore, we are not ready to draw conclusions in regard to genetic interaction. The real take away is that we saw a ROI of over $16/A. with the morning application compared to the afternoon. More research is necessary to determine if this is conclusive.

11.28_Figure 1_Foliar Time and Temperature Study

Corn After Corn Nitrogen Rate Study

The genetic interaction was also a focus of our Corn After Corn (CAC) Nitrogen Rate study this year. In this study, we used the N efficient hybrid XL® 5828AMX™*brand and the hybrid XL® 6165AMX™*brand which shows a higher N response. How much N can we apply on a hybrid with a higher N response and still see a positive ROI? Data from the 2016 season at our Central Illinois PFR site showed differences in Economic Optimum N Rates (EONR) for the two hybrids tested. As a more efficient N user, XL® 5828AMX™*brand showed a 210.9 Bu./A. yield result with the greatest net return of $712.07 when 200 units of N were added during the season. In the case of XL® 6165AMX™* brand, our highest N rate of 275 units resulted in the greatest net return at $817.42 with a yield of 248.1 Bu./A. as shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2_Corn after Corn Nitrogen Rate Study

You can find the rest of these results and further product management suggestions in our 2016 PFR Book by clicking here.

Alex Knight, Ph.D. | PFR Agronomist

For more Agronomic News from Alex Knight, Ph.D., please visit her blog on


*®XL, Optimum and AcreMax are registered trademarks of Pioneer. XL® brand seed is distributed by Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc. Versa Max™ is a trademark of Midtech R&D, Inc. Practical Farm Research (PFR)® is a registered trademark of Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc.


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