Do you really want biased information on crop management practices and products? You need to attend the 2013 On-Farm Network Conference sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association. It will be held February 21 at the Scheman building on the campus of Iowa State University at Ames. Farmers, agronomists, crop consultants and anyone else interested in crop production in Iowa are encouraged to attend.
"No matter how objective we try to be in reporting information, we all have a bias," notes Mick Lane, communications manager for the On-Farm Network. "Some people like to reinforce some existing message. Some only report 'positive' information.
Others only report 'negative' information. So when you're reading or hearing about the latest and greatest this or that being offered as something you need for your farm business, do you ask yourself what the potential bias of the source might be?"
He notes that "Increasingly companies are becoming the dominant source for information about their products, as well as how to use it, grow it, drive it, or whatever. It makes sense, since they should know better than anyone else where and how their product performs. It also opens the way for possible bias, since the information sources benefit when you purchase their products."
On-Farm Network conducts a number of on-farm trials each year
"We at the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network have a bias, too," says Lane. "Our bias –- our purpose –- is to make sure that you, the grower, get the entire straight story on products and practices that are studied in our program."
At the annual On-Farm Network® Conference on February 21, in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus at Ames a number of knowledgeable speakers who design and conduct these objective on-farm trials will present what the data from 2012 and past years show on a variety of subjects. "We have assembled a series of presentations on topics to be delivered speakers that you will not typically see or hear at other grower meetings in Iowa," says Lane. "Our conference topics are put together by us based on what we believe will benefit growers."
People like success stories. It's easy to give a presentation when you have results that let you say definitively that using a new product or practice will increase yields by 10%. When the data suggests using this product or that practice might cost money or cut yields, though, you might not leave the room with a warm, positive feeling. But you'll have valuable information you may not get anywhere else.
"The only sugar coating you'll get from us will be on the morning donuts."
"At our conference, you'll hear the good and the bad of what we have found on a wide range of topics all collected on growers' farms," Lane continues. "If you're looking for a pep rally, our conference is probably not for you. If you want solid, straight-forward information that can help make your business more profitable, we recommend that you attend."
Visit the website www.iasoybeans.com and click on the production research tab, then click on the On-Farm Network tab. There you can find more information about the conference. As you can see as you read the conference schedule, topics to be covered at the upcoming February 21 meeting include corn rootworm control, cover crops, sulfur and micronutrient study results, stalk nitrate test results from 2012 and previous years, managing glyphosate resistant weeds, and much more.
If you sign up to attend by midnight February 6, you'll get $25 off of the $100 conference registration fee. Email Christine Borton ([email protected]) or call her at 800-383-1423, ext. 1033 with questions. The registration fee will be waived for farmers who cooperated with the On-Farm Network and held a trial on their farm in 2012. "We hope to see you in Ames on February 21," says Lane. "We guarantee that the only sugar coating you'll get from us will be on the morning donuts."