Kinze recently announced that it would produce a limited number of electric-drive planters with multi-hybrid capability for 2015. The multi-hybrid concept involves the ability to change hybrids on the go during passes in the field to better match hybrids to various soil types in the field. The planter can accept two hybrids at any one time, and switch from planting one to the other when directed to by the computer controller in the cab. It reads prescriptions from a map prepared by the farmer, seed rep, a consultant or any combination of these people.
Kinze made news again recently when it announced that Beck’s Hybrids would be the exclusive company for placing the planters in certain key states, including Indiana. The states are in the eastern Corn Belt. One reason for the agreement officials say is because Beck’s has been so instrumental in developing the concept from the beginning.
The idea began to get traction two years ago when Jason Webster, Beck’s Central Illinois Practical Farm Research Director, Downs, Ill., rigged a Kinze planter to change hybrids on the go. He did that using two sets of boxes and row units. The new planter designed by Kinze has seed in different boxes, naturally, but drops seed of either hybrid down the same tube.
Webster designed a series of test plots that first year, and again in 2013, to demonstrate a yield advantage for switching hybrids. In Beck’s two years of on-farm research, an average of 9.5 bushels per acre was achieved in corn.
To participate in the offer, farmers need to contact Becks Hybrids and complete an application to be considered for a planter by August 25. Beck’s and Kinze wills elect eligible farmers. Kinze will work with those who are selected to complete details on pricing. A Becks representative will work with each buyer of the planter in setting up management zones and writing seed prescriptions for each field.