DOWNS, Ill. — The dream of achieving 300-bushel corn yields
nears reality through the work being conducted through research plots and
Beck’s Hybrids began its 300 Challenge in 2009 for farmers,
and the company also has ongoing studies at its practical research farms.
A tour of the Beck’s Central Illinois Practical Farm
Research during this year’s field day shed some light on management practices
that may result in conquering the 300-bushel hurdle.
Multiple hybrids are the focus at the site with control
populations of 34,000 seeds per acre and 38,000 seeds per acre in the 300
Jonathan Perkins, Southern Illinois PFR director, led the
tour and provided a rundown of the 300-bushel recipe implemented this year.
A pre-plant application of 100 pounds of 28 percent nitrogen
was utilized, and Factor nitrogen stabilizer “was used to try to protect that
nitrogen and keep it there a little bit longer,” he said.
“They also applied pre-plant a quart of BioRed. That’s a
product that we’ve been testing at this farmer and other locations, and we’ve
seen a benefit from it,” he said.
BioRed is a product with 100-percent organic bacteria and
contains a wide variety of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms, including those
that are nitrogen-fixing.
“At planting they applied in-furrow five gallons of 7-22-5
pop-up with P Max (for improved phosphorous uptake), along the insecticide,
Counter, that they added on top of what we already have from the insecticides in
the Escalate yield enhancement system,” Perkins said.
A separate starter fertilizer study at the research site
found a $61.11 per acre net return advantage when applying five gallons per acre
of 7-22-5 liquid starter fertilizer in-furrow as it produced 12.9 bushels per
acre more corn.
“They came in and sidedressed 100 pounds of 28 percent at
V4, a 90 pound mixture of 7-22-5 and 0-0-14, which is basically potash that is
added with water and boiled to get that 14 pounds that we’re getting from the
potash formulation. In addition, 28 percent was applied with a Y-Drop at V14,”
Four ounces of Priaxor fungicide was applied at the V5
followed by a 10-ounce Headline AMP application at R1.
“We’re trying to protect that plant as best that we can with
the higher level of insecticide and the fungicide,” Perkins said.
“We haven’t reached that 300-bushel yield level here yet.
We’ve been trying, but we haven’t quite got there. We have reached it five
different times at our Atlanta, Ind., site.”
In 2009, the company developed the Beck 300 Challenge. Those
who participate are required to have a minimum plot of 30 acres and two
Past winners were Aaron Murray, Findlay, Ohio, 276.3 bushels
per acre; Larry Holaday, Farmland, Ind., 280 bushels per acre; and Donnie Poore,
Albany, Ky., 266 bushels per acre.
“This gives us optimism that it is possible to get that high
of a yield across multiple states and multiple geographies,” Perkins said. “But
we don’t see anybody from Illinois that’s hit that. We’re in the Corn Belt, and
we haven’t hit that 300 bushel yet.
“So we’d like to challenge farmers to enter 300 Bushel
Challenge and try it on their farm. They can contact their local seed adviser or
dealer that they work with and see about getting it set up on their
Despite last year’s drought, the Central Illinois PFR high
yield plots averaged 239.5 bushels per acre with many of these same management
Also in regard to the quest for 300-bushel yields, Craig
Kirby, Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist, noted the new rootworm event,
Syngenta’s Agrisure Duracade, and its yield boost potential.
“There are a lot of things that are incorporated in
attempting to reach 300 bushels. We also have to look at the ability to protect
yield,” he said.
“We recognize there are some issues with the current
rootworm technology that we have. We have some great products that we’ve been
able to utilize for several years now with rootworm protection Bts from
different companies. But we know that eventually we’re running into some
He showed some YieldGard Bt root samples from northern
Illinois that indicates rootworm resistance.
“So we’re excited to be looking at some new technologies,
and we’ve recognized some problems and are moving away from some of that
technology a little bit with some of the other events, including Syngenta
“The name is derived from durable and barricade. It’s
durable in the fact that it’s the first rootworm Bt that’s designed specifically
to be resistant to insect resistance.
“Durability is the whole key to this. It’s going to be in
tandem with an existing Bt event, the Agrisure RW trait. There will be two
events in there. The other unique thing about it is it has a different mode of
action from anything currently on the market.”
The Agrisure Duracade 5122 trait stack will combine the
Agrisure Duracade trait with the Agrisure RW trait for an additional mode of
action on corn rootworm, Agrisure CB/LL trait for control of corn borer, the
Herculex I trait for a second mode of action on corn borer and for broad
lepidopteran control and the GA21 trait for glyphosate tolerance.
The Agrisure Duracade 5222 trait stack will include the same
traits as the Agrisure Duracade 5122 trait stack plus the Agrisure Viptera trait
for breakthrough control of the multi-pest complex.
“It’s pretty exciting. We have a high dose, we also have
resistant management built into the product,” Kirby said.
“One thing we often get questions about is if we get a lot
of Bts involved will there be a yield drag. There isn’t any in this event. It’s
really unmatched corn rootworm control and unmatched consistency across the
rootworm insects and unmatched yield potential as we enter this new trait into
the hybrids of Beck’s.
“We finally have the kind of level of control that we’ve
always expected and experienced with Bt for corn borer and now it’s with
Hybrid seeds containing Agrisure Duracade will be available
for the 2014 season.