Farmers tell their seed rep the kinds of information they would like to know. If the seed rep doesn't have an answer, and it turns out no one in the industry has a good answer, sometimes that idea that started with a question from a farmer ends up as a demonstration or research trial in Beck's Hybrids Practical Farm Research Trials.
Now with five PFR sites, Beck's tests a wide variety of ideas and concepts, not just hybrids and varieties.
Thousands flock to hear about what they're finding during their late summer field shows. Despite rain, the company set a record for attendance on Friday during their recent show.
One of the tours that nearly always had a packed tram when weather allowed showed farmers a planter set up with various types and combinations of closing wheels. Some were common, like solid rubber ones, but others were unique and relatively new, like paddle wheels. Everyone is out to build a better mousetrap in closing wheels, resulting in unusual designs. Beck's crew want to find out which mouse traps might work well, and which might slam shut on you instead.
In their second year of testing with a planter set up with various combinations on various rows, they're making some observations. They hope to have a second year's worth of data later this fall.
Jason Gahimer of Beck's Hybrids helps assist with the PFR plots. "We've already learned things like if we're running one spiked wheel, we put it on the side where our starter fertilizer coulter runs," he says.
We've also found that if we use chains on some of the combinations, the chain may actually smooth it out so much that it could be subject to crusting if we get a big rain. We only run the chain behind the closing wheel where we're running spiked closing wheels."
"Some of the newer designs are showing promise, but we'll wait and see at harvest. The regular rubber wheels had the best stand last year but lowest yield. It was probably because they created more soil compaction."