Beck’s is expanding into Nebraska in a big way. The Indiana-based fifth-generation family seed company, founded in 1937, recently announced an expansion of territory into the Cornhusker State.
In October, Beck’s also announced its acquisition of a new facility located on 150 acres near Goehner, Neb., just off Interstate 80. This facility will provide farmers in the region with sales support, distribution and practical farm research (PFR), along with educational and agronomic opportunities.
Jason Gahimer, Beck’s national PFR manager, is excited about the new developments for the company in Nebraska.
“As far back as 1964, Sonny Beck believed that we needed to do agronomic-based research as a company,” Gahimer says. “He knew that farmers were going to need more information, so that’s how PFR started with Beck’s and why. Through PFR, we use our varieties and try any and all agronomic practices.”
The company has spent this past spring getting personnel onboarded and putting equipment in place. They also have been designing test plot fields for PFR in Goehner and setting up alleyways, Gahimer explains.
“We are building a new distribution center at the Goehner site,” he says. “We dismantled a center pivot that was on the site that we can’t use, with plans to install two linear irrigation units to water the farm. We have 125 acres of tillable plot ground there, so we have room for 45 to 50 studies when we are ramped up.”
Beck’s designs demonstration and test plots much larger than normal small plot trials. “Our plots are 250 to 300 feet in length,” Gahimer says. “These are longer and wider than the usual plots, so we can use commercially available farm equipment that farmers actually use, just smaller versions. We plant with precision planters that are practical and used by farmers. We run three to five replications on each treatment, so this scale of testing can provide the best data that a grower could expect to see in the field.”
The Goehner PFR site will be the seventh Beck’s-owned PFR location, with 12 total sites around the country, including five cooperator sites that also conduct PFR research. Other Beck’s PFR sites are located in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa and Illinois, with cooperator sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the Delta.
With the understanding of how important irrigation is to Nebraska agriculture, Gahimer notes the importance of irrigation-related research — including subsurface drip irrigation through the PFR program at the Beck’s Nebraska location. He says they are building a unique wind machine that can simulate greensnap studies.
“We’ve also custom-built a hail machine that we use at other locations that attaches to our Hagie high-clearance machine, with ropes with knots that spin,” he says. “This is the closest simulation to hail that I’ve seen, so we can do hail research. We also have been conducting research on the potential benefits of applying fungicide after a hail event.”
Beck’s PFR research evolves over time to offer trials that test applications and treatments that farmers want and need to know more about. Tests at the Goehner location will include nitrogen rate trials and fungicide timing tests that are occurring at multiple Beck’s locations, along with site-specific trials and hybrid testing, as well as facilities for regional sales and distribution.
Farmers will also be able to check out Beck’s hybrids at new demonstration plots that are planted this season at the Husker Harvest Days show site. “The whole reason behind the PFR program is to help farmers succeed,” Gahimer says.
The major research results from Beck’s annual PFR trials are available every year in its 300-page research books, which are free to everyone and available for download online. Learn more about Beck’s and find its 2021 PFR Book at beckshybrids.com.