Winter is here and snow is falling, field work in Iowa has come to halt. "We hope you're somewhere warm and taking some time to focus on making decisions for next season," says Tracy Blackmer, director of research for the Iowa On-Farm Network. "Results from more than 200 individual replicated strip trials conducted by Iowa growers working with the On-Farm Network are now posted on our website, and the last of them will be up within a day or two."
He adds, "This will pretty much conclude the 2012 individual trial results and we will start to focus on summarizing the results into more complete topic discussions. We'd strongly encourage growers and agronomic managers to look at these results." The On-Farm Network is a program sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association.
From the trial list table you can see the types of trials, where they are located, and the yield difference of each. In addition, by clicking the "view" button for each trial you can see the 4-page summary report for each individual trial. Where stalk nitrate testing was done in conjunction with the replicated strips, those results are also available.
Each report includes an aerial image taken near the end of the season. This gives you a good perspective of the field in terms of size, same hybrid, stand consistency, and other factors that might interfere with the trial. "We're hearing a lot of ads on the radio, and have seen some new ones in print, too, where products are being promoted with "On-farm trial" data," says Blackmer. "An aerial image of those trials could show the validity of the data by revealing consistency across the fields or showing problems that might discredit the trial data."
Blackmer encourages farmers to challenge any data they see or hear being promoted, that does not provide individual trial details
He explains, "In addition to the image, we show the exact treatment position within the field and where yield data for the summary was used or removed. We also show the yields by strip, and include soil type information as well."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
With the low cost of posting information on the Internet, "we would challenge anyone marketing products based on "on-farm trials" to make those trial results public," says Blackmer. "And we'd encourage growers to challenge any data that does not provide individual trial details. The cost of providing the details is small compared to the potential cost to growers who are using inadequate information to guide their management decisions. You will see this has been standard practice for the ISA On-Farm Network for a number of years."
Some of the 2012 replicated strip trial projects that might be of interest are:
* Use of fungicides. There are early applications with the herbicide, several "systems" type of trials that include fungicide, and contrast of fungicide practices.
* Soil insecticide on second year corn. These trials involved the use of insecticides on CRW traited corn and still showed economic increases in some cases.
* Corn population trials. This is the fourth year of trials. Many people are wondering about the effects of the drought on corn populations
* Effect of applied sulfur on corn and soybeans. This is the second year and includes some trials on the same fields that were involved in 2011, so results show the effect on the crop that was opposite in rotation from the first year.
* Various N trials. These include manure, sulfur and other nutrients, as well as fertilizer form, timing, use of N inhibitor, etc.
Make plans to attend 2013 On-Farm Network Conference February 21 at Ames
"If you are interested in scheduling a grower meeting where we can present the results of local and statewide trials, or just have questions about what you're seeing in our reports," says Blackmer, "please email Tristan Mueller, program manager, or call him at 800-383-1423. We'll be happy to schedule a meeting as time permits, at no cost."
Blackmer notes that "Highlights of all of our 2012 work will be presented at the annual On-Farm Network Conference, coming up February 21, 2013, at the Scheman Building in the Iowa State Center on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. If you've attended in the past or participated in trials this year, you'll receive an email invitation when the conference registration is open. We'll include a link to the registration website in an upcoming newsletter. Whether or not you've attended this conference in the past, please make plans to be there this year."