SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — While planning for the 2018 growing season, the South Dakota soybean checkoff encourages soybean farmers to sign up for the South Dakota Soybean On-Farm Research Program.
A collaborative effort between the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (SDSRPC), SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU, the On-Farm Research Program is designed so farmers can easily participate in on-farm research of their choosing, have professionals evaluate the data and share the results with other farmers through the program’s website.
“Farmers are inundated with product information that will allegedly boost yields. To understand if something will work for us or not, most of us try a few different practices or products out in our fields each season anyway,” said Craig Converse, a fourth generation Arlington farmer and SDSRPC Vice Chairman. “We urge South Dakota soybean farmers to participate so we can all learn from each other. The more on-farm data we have for a particular management practice or product, the more likely our professional team will be able to assign an accurate probability to how those products or practices are going to perform.”
Interested farmers are free to choose the research topic they want to investigate on their farms. David Clay, SDSU Professor in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department explained that SDSU researchers work with the farmers to help properly set up the trials, so the experiment and results are valid.
Researchers conduct site visits during the growing season and help analyze the results once crops are harvested. To participate in the South Dakota Soybean On-Farm Research Program simply visit https://onfarmresearch.sdsoybean.org.
“When we want to see how well a product performs, the best place to test it is in a farmer’s field,” Clay said. “We let the farmers farm, but we help process the information to determine if their experiments helped them or not.”
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As more farmers participate and additional trials are conducted, the On-Farm Research Program’s data will become increasingly robust.
“If we have 20 studies showing on-farm results, we can start assigning probability to how those products or practices are going to perform,” Clay says. “We will have more value and give farmers a better idea if those practices will help them make money.”
Converse added, “The precision ag tools we use already generate this data throughout the growing season and at harvest, why not have this data analyzed by SDSU Extension and university professionals? This is a great example of our checkoff dollars working hard for us.”
In addition to having his own data professionally evaluated, Converse said the access to data generated on other South Dakota farms is a valuable benefit of the On-Farm Research Program.
Because all information shared on the website is based on results anonymously shared by South Dakota soybean farmers, the research is truly farmer-driven.
For more than a century, SDSU faculty, researchers and SDSU Extension staff have worked with South Dakota farmers to conduct on-farm research. What sets this program apart is its potential scope and easy access to results.
After joining the On-Farm Research community, farmers can contribute their own data and search for research results based on specific products and/or location.
“With current commodity prices, we are all taking a close look at what we are doing and trying to cut costs and increase efficiencies. The professional analysis and access to results makes this program an effective tool we can use at no cost to us,” Converse said.
The South Dakota Soybean On-Farm Research Program and website are funded by SDSRPC, the South Dakota soybean checkoff organization. To learn more, visit www.sdsoybean.org.
— South Dakota Soybean
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