Research Trial Importance
During the rush of the season the last thing on our mind is doing a plot or any kind of research plot as we focus on trying to just get the crop in and sprayed/fertilized on time. Every fall we wish we would have spent more time in the spring and summer putting in better data strips and seed plots, but the spring sometimes gets in the way. Beyond our want to get things done in a timely manner, our other hurdle is often the data collection itself. It can take days to decipher where exactly a planter changed hybrids or treatments or where a sprayer ran and the exact part of the field it cut off.
A lot of this data is important on how you run your farm. Trials aren’t just for seed and chemicals, any data you can collect on your farm is important to you. We’ve done side by sides with different tillage tools, tillage practices and cover crops among many other management practices. The key is that we need to be out in the field looking at how anything we do affects the plants themselves and not just taking the harvest data.
The main take away is we want to try hybrids, chemicals and agronomic practices that could have helped your operation after we finally took the time to do them a year later. We’ve seen a tillage practice change lead to a 14 bushel bump that was mostly from an increased plant stand that we could have had the year before. It was a simple change that could have led to a major increase to the bottom line for a farm that didn’t cost anything. So when you are planning for 2018, take the time to work on the little things and plan for something that will take a minimal investment in time to potentially increase your bottom line the following year.