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Multi-Hybrid Planting Has Advantages and Disadvantages

Multi-Hybrid Planting Has Advantages and Disadvantages
Technology is ever changing in agriculture. Do you like to be on the cutting edge?

Beck's Hybrids Practical Farm Research conducts more than 60 different studies across multiple locations to provide up-to-date information on different management practices that farmers are trying or considering trying in their fields.

For every farmer to carry out their own testing, it can be time consuming and confusing. That's why Beck's Hybrids uses four different locations for testing. Some of the tests are replicated, including the one on multiple-hybrid planting vs. conventional planting.

AMAZING TO WATCH: Beck's Hybrids and Kinze Manufacturing are bringing the concept of multi-hybrid planting in the same pass closer to reality. Watching the technology under development work in the field is amazing.

The opportunity to see the Kinze-multi-hybrid concept planter in action in Texas was amazing. This planter was developed partly because Jason Webster, Beck's Hybrids PFR specialist in central Illinois, configured an existing Kinze planter to change hybrids on the go two years ago. Plot results show that the concept produces higher yields.

Watching this technology develop will be fun. Kinze has not announced when commercial production of the planter might begin, and has not committed to building a multi-hybrid planter for commercial use at this time.

There will be disadvantages
Just as all technology develops, expect there to be some complications. While multiple-hybrid planting allows you to tailor each hybrid to soil type, there are some advantages and disadvantages.

Obviously, being able to target offensive and defensive hybrids to the soil types where they do best with a planter that can change from one hybrid to a second hybrid on the go is the advantage.

Related: Multi-Hybrid Planter Concept Solidifies Ag Technology Expansion

For a long time, plant breeders have developed workhorse and racehorse hybrids, with racehorse hybrids generally suited to more productive soils and workhorse hybrids recommended on more challenging soils. Farmers have long struggled with compromising on which hybrid to select for a field with multiple soil types. Multi-hybrid planting would make that simpler and alleviate most of that challenge.

But it will complicate planting operations. Ordering seed and supplying the planter will require more precise calculations. A prescription map will be needed for each field, and identifying which hybrid fits best where could be difficult, given the range of weather conditions that could occur in any one year.

More parts and more wires bring the potential for more problems that could stop the planter in the field. Hybrids will have to be carefully paired to promote consistent dry-down in the field. Hybrids will need to mature together.

Still, nearly all advancements start on the "bleeding edge," where early-adopters are willing to shoulder the problems and work through the complications. Eventually, they help determine solutions to even the most complicated challenges if the practice has merit.

While this concept will not appeal to every farmer overnight, there are definitely applications where it could be feasible.  There are farmers eager to apply the ability to plant using a multi-hybrid planter on their own farm.

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