Results from more than 400 replicated strip trial studies, on nitrogen and manure management, fungicide use on corn and soybeans, and much more will be covered at the Iowa Soybean Association's On-Farm Network Conference in Ames on February 21.
The annual conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center this year, on the ISU campus. The reason it is at Scheman is to accommodate an expanding audience and more adequately report on the topics being studied by farmers participating in On-Farm Network trials.
For more information or to register, follow links to the conference information pages from either www.isafarmnet.com or www.iasoybeans.com. Or, look for the "Field, Farm & Watershed" insert in the January 2007 issue of Wallace's Farmer magazine. It has lots of information about the conference.
Another option is to call ISA at (800) 383-1423 to register. The $75 conference fee includes lunch and conference materials. Fees are waived for farmers who participated in the On-Farm Network strip trials or stalk nitrate testing.
Changes in conference this year
Tracy Blackmer, director of research for ISA, explains the changes in the annual conference that has traditionally been called the "nitrogen conference."
"Based on feedback we've had in the past, people who have attended the conference have been positive on all the nitrogen information presented," says Blackmer. "Farmers have also said they know our network has done trials on a lot of other topics, too. They've asked us to present information on fungicide trials, tillage and other on-farm studies we've done. So we've made the conference into a 'breakout session' format. That way, farmers can attend a half-day nitrogen conference that will be repeated again in the afternoon, so you can attend either the morning session or the afternoon—to get the same nitrogen program."
Held at the same time will be sessions on other topics—such as the corn and soybean fungicide trials. You can also learn about tools like remote sensing. "We have over 20 different topics that growers and consultants can pick from to really hit their interest best--as to what information they are looking for," says Blackmer.
What is the On-Farm Network?
For people who aren't familiar with ISA's On-Farm Network, what is the purpose of this organization? Who is involved?
Coordinated by the Iowa Soybean Association, this testing of various cropping practices is done ultimately by the growers in the field. They conduct replicated strip tests on their own farms. "We also have a lot of consultants who helped coordinate this testing with the growers - and many of the co-op agronomists, this year," he says. "There are a lot of different people involved and we actually had over 500 replicated field trials out again this year. We'll be talking about the results at the Feb. 21 conference."
The information is summarized so you can get the highlights as to what ISA and the cooperating farmers learned and what are the new questions, you can also see the data. It's not just listening to what someone thought. You can see the data and learn how it applies to your local area, he says. This is truly a conference for farmers, by farmers, says Blackmer.