Conducting Your Own On-Farm Trials – DO Try This At Home

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for our universities, extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other public servants. Many of these folks work tirelessly to help farmers. They also collaborate with industry with determining product adaptation, use, rates and the like. Working in the seed industry for over 25 years, I have had the fortune to learn and work with many such folks when it comes to evaluating forage grasses and legumes. We utilize data from their work extensively. So do many farmers. However, their contribution has limitations. And those limitations seem to be increasing, not decreasing. Shrinking budgets and lack of support are killing many research programs. While I want to support those programs as much as possible, I also want to invite you to become your own researcher and start a life-long practice of conducting your own on-farm trials. My hope is that this article will both inspire you and give you some guidance in this practice. Consider it another tool in your toolbox. On-Farm Trials - What are they? Simply put, on-farm trials are intentionally planted plots of different plants or practices which you establish and manage on your own farm for the purpose of helping you make better decisions about new products and/or practices. While my examples and focus are comparing forage species and varieties, you can apply these same principles to fertilization and chemical use, as well as general management practices. On-farm trials can be a

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3 thoughts on “Conducting Your Own On-Farm Trials – DO Try This At Home

  1. Exactly Right, Replications and a control.

    Now I’m curious about the results of your on farm plot trial?

  2. Excellent article! It is interesting how weather patterns and year-over-year climate changes can effect your results.

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