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On-Farm Research

Farmers are constantly bombarded with the latest gee-whiz product or practice they should have on the farm. However, producers are often skeptical, saying it can be hard to find good, unbiased research and information on how it might work in their own production systems. One way to get your questions answered is to allocate a small percentage of acres to try them out for yourself.

Paul Gross is a field crop educator at Michigan State University. He says you should have at least one research project going on your farm every year on new products and practices.

"One that’s been fairly popular is seeding rate for soybeans and how we can optimize our yield and maybe save a little bit on seed costs and still get those yields," says Gross. "I know farmers are doing some of the new seed genetics, they’ll compare some of the newer varieties. They’ll look at new seed treatments. There are different fertility products, there’s a lot of crop protection products that are out there that are available to try."

There are many ways to do this so how you do your testing is up to you.

"It can just be part of a field that’s already in production where you want to put some strips in. It might just be a couple acres," he says. "It just depends on what you want to try and how many acres you might need to make a good comparison. It depends on if you want to do side-by-side demos or if you really want to gather on-farm statistics to make sure that that practice or that product is giving you a statistical benefit."

Gross says once you have your information, there are agronomists and others who can help you decipher your discoveries.