By Michele F. Mihaljevich
ATLANTA, Ind. – More than 13,000 people attended Becknology Days last month at the Beck’s Hybrids headquarters in Atlanta.
Those visitors had the opportunity to tour the company facility, take part in several research presentations and participate in family oriented activities.
“The purpose of Becknology Days is to help farmers succeed,” explained Jason Gahimer, the company’s Practical Farm Research (PFR) manager. “We call it a field day like no other. It’s not about selling seed. The real purpose is to have growers come look at our facility, enjoy a day, see what we’re about.
“A big emphasis the last three-five years has been on making it a family event. It’s a show for everyone. It’s not just about dad. We want the missus to come, we want the kids.”
Family events included miniature golf, pony rides, face painting and science fair projects.
Attendees could learn about research on such topics as short corn, nitrogen use and tire pressure during the Aug. 25-27 event.
Beck’s currently doesn’t offer any short corn varieties, but Gahimer said it could in the near future. Industry wide, he said there’s been a lot of time and investment in short corn, which is smaller in stature than tradition corn.
“In our studies, we weren’t evaluating for yield, but rather how do we manage it agronomically,” he noted. “What management practices might be needed when we move into different types of corn?”
Short corn on average is 2-3 feet smaller than traditional corn, Gahimer said. “The shorter plant height offers better standability. A shorter stature plant, in theory, should stand a little better. As long as we can get shorter corn with the same amount of yield.”
Shorter corn may hold up better against strong winds, he said.
Beck’s has increased the number of nitrogen studies it conducts as the price of nitrogen has increased.
“The price of nitrogen was about doubled at one point,” Gahimer stated, adding it is still high.
“The question to be answered was should farmers apply less nitrogen because it costs more,” he said. “If corn was still at $3.50, the answer was yes.”
Beck’s found the economic optimum rate for $3.50 corn and nitrogen at 50 cents per pound was $1.88 per unit, Gahimer said. With $6 corn and nitrogen at $1 per pound, the optimum rate was $1.83. The numbers were for a corn after soybean rotation.
“For now, unless nitrogen goes up and corn prices go down, there’s no need to decrease nitrogen,” he said. “The better thing to do is to be more efficient with nitrogen. To growers, (the numbers) weren’t a big shock, they made sense. But they like the reassurance of a third party backing them up.”
Beck’s has also been looking into tire pressure and how it might impact field compaction. “Tires with a 30 PSI (pounds per square inch) will create a lot more compaction,” Gahimer said. “A tire with a lower PSI creates less compaction because it spreads out the weight across a bigger area. There’s a need to figure out how to lower PSI without blowing out the sidewall.”
Beck’s has studied inflation kits which raise or lower tire pressure based on the equipment’s location, he said.
On Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. eastern, Beck’s will premiere its virtual Field Show, featuring recorded presentations from Becknology Days. For more information, visit beckshybrids.com/About-Us/Events/Virtual-Field-Show.