Members of the Beck's Hybrids Team take the time to put out experiments on topics farmers want answers to, but don't feel they have the time to look at themselves. Called Practical Farm Research, the studies are usually not replicated at one location. However, the PFR program now has four sites, two in Indiana and two in Illinois, with a director at each site. Some of these same tests are conducted using the exact, same parameters at all sights. This allows them to begin to make valid comparisons, believes Scot Beck, vice president of Beck's Hybrids.
Nitrogen remains as one of the most costly inputs for corn. So the Becks' crew developed several studies to N rate amounts and timing of application over the past few years. Here's a look at one they've just completed on timing of application of nitrogen during the season, compared against yield and income.
Results at the central Indiana site at Arcasdia and the southern Indiana site at Ft. Branch were similar for this past year, Beck says. This past year, as has been observed at the southern location, in the plots in central Indiana, the most profitable system for timing of application was applying 100 pounds in a Weed and Feed application, then sidedressing another 200 pounds at the V3 growth stage. That means three leaf collars are exposed. The growing point of the stalk is still below the ground. This particular study was in corn after corn.
However, applying 200 pounds of N as sidedress at the V3 leaf stage produced results that were not far behind the split application method. Applying 10 gallons per acre of 28% N in a 3 inch by 2 inch placement, then following with 170 pounds of nitrogen also produced reasonably good result.
But applying all N pre-plant led to a significantly lower yield, and much lower profitability.
"What we concluded is that a sidedress application as part of your nitrogen program is critical for higher yields," Beck concludes.
When you tie dollars to it, even at $3.80 corn, which was about average when the Becks staff made some comparisons in costs amongst products, applications involving siedressing were clear winners.