Beck's, partner developing multi-hybrid planter

April 21, 2014
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Hamilton County-based Beck’s Hybrids has quietly become the sixth-largest retail seed company in the country—making waves in an industry dominated by multinational corporations despite its limited geographic reach.

The family-owned company has about 1 million square feet under roof at its headquarters along 276th Street north of Arcadia, and grows almost all the seed corn it supplies to farmers in portions of eight Midwestern states. And it's still growing. (Find our April 2 online story here, this week's print story here, and a photo gallery here.)

Farming can be a tough row to hoe, but technology helps.

So-called precision agriculture techniques allows farmers to eliminate some of the guesswork, for example, using data to “prescribe” specific plantings and treatments with amazing accuracy. GPS-equipped tractors and combines even can steer themselves.

Now Beck’s is working to make sure they make the most of such modern advantages.

“We like to lead,” said third-generation company President Sonny Beck, whose grandfather, Lawrence, and father, Francis, founded Beck’s Hybrids in 1937.

One work-in-progress project, dubbed Farm Server, would help farmers analyze and act on the reams of data they collect every year, Beck said.

Beck’s also is collaborating with farm-equipment maker Kinze Manufacturing Inc. to develop a planter capable of sowing two different hybrid seeds on a single pass through the field. By planting the seed that’s the best fit for a given soil type or topographical condition, the theory goes, farmers can improve their likelihood of success.

Four of the Kinze planters have hit the fields to date; Beck’s is using three of them, and the manufacturer is testing the other. Mass production should start next year, Sonny Beck said.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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