Update, April 2015: Check the latest specs on the Beck's - Kinze Multi-hybrid planter, now nearing full commercial availability.
The idea of tailoring the best seed genetics and traits available to different soil types in one field has long been a dream for agriculture. But what if your planter could make this dream possible? What if it could hold two different varieties, planting based on recommendations from the computer in the cab? What if it could change varieties row by row on the fly? Farmers know all too well that fields aren't square and soil types aren't laid out perfectly in line.
This concept was one that Jason Webster, Beck's Hybrids central Illinois Practical Farm Research Director, thought completely possible. And Beck's, along with Kinze Manufacturing, were behind him 100%. Since 2012, that is one thing they have been working on at Beck's Practical Research Farm near Downs, Ill.
"We're excited to not only be a lead partner in this new technology, but to bring Midwest farmers the opportunity to utilize the multi-hybrid corn planting system on their own farms," says Scott Beck, vice president of Beck's Hybrids.
"As a seed company, it is our goal to bring farmers quality, high-performing products for their acres. We are also committed to evaluating new technologies to increase yields and profitability."
Through Beck's Practical Farm Research Partners program, multi-hybrid corn planting will be utilized in on-farm research in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa this spring.
Each PFR partner will work with company representatives, along with Beck's Hybrids, to test the new technology first-hand. Kinze Manufacturing will provide three 4900 series single row, multi-hybrid concept planters. In addition, New Holland Agriculture will provide each partnering farm with a multi-hybrid concept planter and Genesis T8 tractor. Raven Industries will be the electronics provider.
"Beck's on-farm research has shown significant yield and profitability increases by changing hybrid placement on the fly based upon varying degrees of yield potential throughout a field," says Webster. "By collaborating with Kinze, we will be able to effectively evaluate and perfect the success of multi-hybrid planting, ultimately bringing farmers an agronomic and economic advantage."
The first Kinze multi-hybrid planter is already at work in Texas. Webster is in Texas to work with the farmer as he plants two hybrids in the same field, and determine how the new planter technology works. Penton Farm Progress visited the farm and watched the planter work last week.
Though the planter is still considered a "concept," and a build date hasn't been released, watching it work on a beautiful day created spring fever. The farmer in me can't wait until all planters are rolling in the Midwest.
Jennifer Campbell is a special contributor to Indiana Prairie Farmer. She resides in Franklin, Ind., with her husband and three children, operating a grain and pork farm.