On Farm Trials

Jan 15, 2019

On Farm Trials
The number of new products in the marketplace seem to be endless. An extremely valuable method of evaluating performance of these products is collecting local data through on-farm trials. Many products can claim dominance in the marketplace based on the widespread data gathered by the manufacturer, but trials done with local management strategies in local cropping systems is where representative data comes from. On-farm trials give the advantage of testing over a number of sites, potentially making products more predictable in our geography.

Using on-farm trials, management differences can be compared directly without the excuse of “that data isn’t from my part of the world.” If a product was guaranteed to work regardless of the situation, trials wouldn’t be of any use. Therefore, a small portion of a field is designated to the research of applicability within a person’s operation.

Typically, an on-farm trial is 1/10 of an acre or larger, integrated into the management practices of a certain field. These trials can vary from experimenting with different hybrids and the population being planted to a high management strategy with the use of seed treatments, fungicides, or biologicals.

Gathering the data from an on-farm trial is the most important part. Throughout the growing season tools can be utilized to evaluate differences between how the trial is managed vs the rest of the field. Plant health can be visually observed using R7® In-season imagery or Climate FieldView™, and tissue sampling in the trial zone and normal management zone can help validate nutrient values in the plant. Gathering yield data with a yield monitor is crucial for the evaluation of the trial and creating yield by zone reports.  

Planning for on-farm trials is an important piece of the process to make sure it is successful. Reach out to your Great Bend Coop agronomist for more information.  

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