On-Farm Testing in Today’s Environment

Reports

Value

Poster - On-Farm Testing in Today's EnvironmentThe value of on-farm testing (OFT) has long been documented within Extension, and it remains an important method to help growers solve production issues in today’s environment. It also continues to be a great tool for Extension Agents to connect with growers’ one-on-one or in small groups and really be aware of issues growers are facing. One thing that has not changed over time is that OFT is not research managed small plots on farms, nor is it a single strip or split field comparison. It is a replicated, statistically valid research with field trials established and managed by the growers with field scale equipment. With the need to get bigger and the incorporation of technology, grower’s field scale equipment and efficiencies have changed rapidly over the past few years. Guidance systems, variable rate controls, grain yield monitors, semi trucks, and bank-out wagons are just a few examples that have changed the landscape of traditional OFT. Living in today’s “information age” has also impacted OFT with the need for more rapid accurate results to keep up in this ever changing environment. The tools and equipment have changed in today’s environment, but the OFT process remains the same; identifying the production issue to address, project funding, on-farm trial establishment, plot maintenance, data collection, data analysis, and outreach.

Why Utilize On-Farm Testing?

  • The value of on-farm testing (OFT) has long been documented within Extension, and it remains an important method to help growers solve production issues in today’s rapidly changing environment
  • It is a great tool for Extension Agents to connect with growers’ one-on-one or in small groups and really be aware of issues facing growers.

OFT have been instrumental in helping growers minimize wireworm crop damage in wheat production across eastern Washington.

Defining On-Farm Testing

  • OFT is not research managed small plots on farms, nor is it a single strip or split field comparison. It is replicated, statistically valid research.
  • Field trials are established and managed by the growers with field scale equipment.

Tractor and implements in test plott strips This OFT is a randomized complete block design with 5 treatments and 4 replications. Each plot is 34 feet wide and 1,000 feet long.

On-Farms Today

  • Grower’s field scale equipment and efficiencies have changed rapidly over the pastfew years with larger equipment and the incorporation of technology.
  • Guidance systems, variable rate controllers, grain yield monitors, semi trucks, and bank-out wagons are just a few examples.

Combine in wheat harvest and loading wheat into trucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on photo for larger view

 

On-Farm Testing Methods Today

  • OFT methods and equipment have evolved to quickly and efficiently establish plots, collect and analyze data, and deliver effective outreach in today’s “information age”.
  • Guidance systems have been very useful establishing OFT, especially in varied terrain.
  • Grain yield monitors have not replaced weighing each individual plot for most traditional OFT. This may change in the near future.

 

Establishing On-Farm TestsTractor

  • Guidance systems have saved time flagging out and squaring up  OFT.
  • Most flagging is used for subsequent data collection including stand establishment and grain yield.
  • Distance can also be estimated using this technology.

 

 

 

Harvesting On-Farm TestsPick-up and grain wieghing equipment

  • This system has a 100 bu tote mounted on the back of a 1 ton flat bed dually pickup, and is equipped with a NORAC weigh system with ½ lb. accuracy. The unloading spout is high enough to reach into semi grain trailers and bank-out wagons. The system is equipped with a 14 hp Honda motor to power the hydraulic system.

 

On-Farm Testing Data Analysis and Outreach

  • Many software packages are available for analyzing OFT data. Statistix™ 9 is one that is compatible with Excel spreadsheets and allows for quick and accurate analysis.
  • Field days, grower meeting presentations and OFT publications are still extremely important to extend OFT results.
  • Web and social media have quickly become important methods to disseminate OFT results  to expanded audiences.

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Lincoln-Adams On-Farm Test Reports

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Ritzville, WA