More on-farm research work urged for corn
Farmers and UNL Extension educators have run productive, organized on-farm research projects for several years in two regions of Nebraska — the Quad County Project of York, Fillmore, Hamilton and Clay counties, and the Nebraska Soybean and Feed Grain Profitability Project in east-central Nebraska.
This winter, Extension and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association are teaming up to get additional on-farm research projects going in the state. The goal is to work with NeCGA local affiliates to help line up such projects. Already, the newly formed Custer County affiliate has expressed interest in forming a local project.
At the 2012 Nebraska Ag Classic in Kearney, Keith Glewen, Extension educator from Saunders County, said an advisory committee will be put together to look at different areas of the state and to help farmers choose desired topics and practices for research.
Smaller-plot studies have and will continue to produce valuable answers on a wide variety of topics, but farmers say they also want studies that are conducted under their own conditions and management practices across a whole field or at least in field-long strips.That’s the approach occurring now in the two aforementioned projects.
“On-farm research is valuable to the producer because the experiment is typically conducted with the producer’s equipment, on the producer’s land, using the producer’s management practices,” Glewen says. “The question of whether research results are relevant to the producer’s soil types and management strategies is answered immediately. And the best of all is that the producer decides what topic to research.”
Not only can farmers test production ideas in partnership with University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists and educators, but they also can get technical support from Extension and industry personnel while conducting the trials, he adds.
Most trials have five or six replications and continue for three or more years.
Participating farmers also report their results at an annual winter meeting at which other farmers and consultants are invited.
On-farm research studies can include a wide range of topics. Here are just a few:
• nutrient application and timing
• evaluation of new fertilizer products
• evaluation of herbicides
• crop rotations
• plant populations
• planting dates
• manure application impacts
• tillage and no-till comparisons
For more information on the benefits of on-farm research, an explanation of the Quad County and the Nebraska Soybean and Feed Grain Profitability Projects, and tips on setting up on-farm research, go to cropwatch.unl.edu/web/
You can also call UNL’s Glewen at 402-624-8030 and Jenny Rees at 402-762-3644, or the Nebraska Corn Growers Association at 402-438-6459.
This article published in the March, 2012 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.