Is there really a benefit to planting different hybrids based on changes in soil types and field conditions across your field? That’s the question we set out to help several seed companies answer over the past couple years. Kinze provided a Multi-Hybrid Planter capable of planting two different hybrids based on variable condition field maps. The results from research conducted by two of these seed companies is now available. What did it find? Let’s just say, you might want to make an appointment with your Kinze dealer soon.
Multi-hybrid planting using a Kinze 4900 16-row Multi-Hybrid Planter was part of Beck’s highly-respected Practical Farming Research (PFR). In fact, they’ve been testing the concept of multi-hybrid planting for the past 3 years. The results? Using a defensive hybrid in lower productivity soils resulted in a 7.5 bushel per acre increase. Using an offensive hybrid in higher productivity soils netted a 8.3 bushels per acre increase. Across all acres, this resulted in an average of 7.9 bushels per acre yield increase in corn compared to single hybrid planting within the 2014 Beck's PFR study. The 2014 planting season was a banner year, even with great overall yields, multi-hybrid planting showed increased yields. The previous Beck's PFR study in 2013 showed that a 9.5 bushel per acre increase was achieved in a more typical year.
How about soybeans? Pioneer conducted a 2014 study on multi-hybrid planting using a Kinze 4900 Multi-Hybrid Planter. In its study, it planted seeds with weaker SDS scores on well-drained soils and planted a variety highly resistant to SDS in poorly drained soils. The results from that study showed an average yield benefit of 3 bushels per acre and economic benefits ranging from $3 - $31 per acre.
As crop prices remain lower than they were just a couple years ago, it’s important to identify ways to maximize profitability. Over the years, if you’ve invested in soil testing and mapping as a way to identify management zones within your field, multi-hybrid planting is just one more smart way to earn a return on that investment. And if you haven’t yet taken that step, well now there’s one more great reason to start.