Planning Your Farm Trial

Do you want to reduce your cost and improve your net revenue? Confirm if an application is delivering the results you expect, or see if a new hybrid could perform on a certain field? Are you considering a new seed variety or wondering about a herbicide you’ve never used before? Are you thinking about a more narrow row spacing or higher populations? 

You can successfully trial one thing at a time per field. Whatever you decide to trial, make sure your goals are specific and measurable. 

Determine Your Goals for a Field Trial on Your Farm

Why do you want to do an on-farm trial?

  • See if a new chemical your rep mentions could work on your favorite hybrid
  • Find out if you could improve yield with a different row spacing
  • See if a suggested seed variety in FBN Yield Potential performs better than what you plant now

Read: Discover the Best Seed for Every Field with FBN Yield Potential (2 min read)

 

Determine What and Where to Trial 

Find the best field to trial

Select a field that has as much uniformity as possible to ensure that your trial will give you useful results that can help to isolate the impact of the factor you’re looking at in your trial. Pay special attention to areas near fence lines, runoff areas and field corners, as these are commonly plagued by outside variables that could impact your data.

uniform field terrain for a trialYour fields could have variability from:

  • Different soil types
  • Topography, elevation
  • Varying management practices
  • Drainage
  • Pesticide residues
  • Disease pressure
  • Compaction

 

Read: How Field Terrain Affects Your Yield (2 min read) 

 

How Do Your Fields Compare?

If the answer is, “I’m not sure,” spend some time benchmarking by looking at how, and what, other farmers have done. Benchmarking can tell you how you did last year compared to similar farms.

how do your fields compare

PRO TIP 

Benchmarking with FBN allows you to compare your farm’s performance to the performance of nearby farms, over time and in detail.

You can rank all the information provided anonymously in the network to identify the practices and products that lead to top yields and the most profitable seasons. By discovering your farm’s yield competitiveness through benchmarking, you can see how your operation and individual fields measure up.

See yearly performance details on 13 factors: Variety, Brand, Nitrogen use, Tillage, Crop Rotation, Seeding Rate, Planting Date, Harvest Date, Soil Productivity Index, GDUs, Precipitation, Enterprise Size, Field Size

Farmers are doing their own experiments, and using FBN to do it.

on-farm field trials guide


Sources: 
https://blog-crop-news.extension.umn.edu/2017/05/on-farm-research-trial-demonstrates.html 
https://cropwatch.unl.edu/on-farm-research
https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2017/field-studies-setting-trial
https://extension.umn.edu/crop-production/how-do-research-your-farm
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/field/news/croptalk/2015/ct-0315a5.htm 
http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/Management/L016.aspx
http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1177&title=Designing%20Research%20and%20Demonstration%20Tests%20for%20Farmers%27%20Fields#Selecting
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/on_farm_crop_tests_can_be_powerful_tools_for_individual_farmers
https://www.iasoybeans.com/upl/downloads/library/guide-to-replicated-strip-trials.pdf