Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Add Greater Value to On-Farm Trial

Steve Anthofer
Answer Plot Operations Sr. Manager
Testing new products and management techniques on your own fields is a good way to get a close-up look at results under your own growing conditions. However, because most on-farm trials are limited in scale, the results provide only a glimpse into performance.
 
To rely on such small-scale data for planning purposes can stymie your chances for success, since the decisions you make are only as good as the data you’re analyzing. And if your data is “iffy,” any resulting actions you might take will be equally suspect.

That’s why it’s beneficial to compare your on-farm data with high-quality, large-scale test results that reflect a variety of soil conditions and weather scenarios, results that paint a more complete performance picture. In 2015, our WinField® United Answer Plot® Program tested 231 corn hybrids, replicated 12 times at 191 locations across the country. We also collected a total of 5 million data points from our trials. This level of local, regional and national testing allows us to ensure the validity of our data, so you can feel confident using it for comparison purposes with your on-farm results.
 
Tips for On-farm Trials
Before doing any data comparisons, make sure your on-farm trials deliver the best results possible. Master Agronomy Advisor Matt Mesenbrink has worked with a number of farmers performing their own trials and offers the following recommendations:
 
  • Keep things simple. Test one thing at a time: one hybrid versus another hybrid; high management versus low management. Limit the trial to the most important information you seek.
  • Understand variabilities. Remember that weather and fertility will affect your outcomes. Because of factors you can’t control, the size of your trial might diminish and, as a result, it may not be a true test of what you’re farming.
  • Work with your agronomist. If trial results differ from what you expected, ask your agronomist to help determine why. Understand that you may need to adapt if conditions change.
  • Engage your other stakeholders. Review your plans with the managers and applicators you work with to help ensure everyone understands what you want to accomplish and what their roles are in helping make that happen.
 
By following these simple steps, you can feel assured in your results and you’ll be on your way to making solid, data-based decisions for the coming year.

Top Challenges for Spring Wheat Farmers

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
Host Kyle Reiner welcomes agronomist Jason Hanson to discuss the 2016 spring wheat season on this week’s episode of The Deal With Yield®. Hanson’s territory of North Dakota saw spring wheat yields comparable to recent years, despite an onslaught of challenges. Tune in to hear about the toughest weed issues and how weather concocted the perfect storm for disease. Reiner and Hanson discuss why it’s important to consider not only high-yielding genetics, but how to manage them as well. Learn about the drawbacks of planting bin-run wheat and the unintended consequences of reintroducing seed, especially to disease-ridden acres.
 
To find out more about wheat varieties for your operation, visit croplan.com/wheat
Season 7: Episode 3 –Top Challenges for Spring Wheat Farmers

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

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