Will On-Farm Research Meet Your Information Need?

Identifying the right research question is the most important part of research. For many questions, unbiased information may already be available. For others, start by identifying a “yes” or “no” question that you would like to answer for your operation. For example, a research question might be “Does applying a fungicide in corn at V5 increase yield?”

In selecting a research question, ask yourself:

  • Will field trials provide the kind of information and verification I need or is there a better approach?
  • Do I have the equipment and other resources to implement the trial well?
  • Do I have field sites appropriate for doing a good test of the product or practice, realizing research often is designed to address specific problems or opportunities? For example, a corn nematode infestation would be needed to evaluate control products.
  • Do I know the field history? If you’re interested in comparing different phosphorous rates in a field, it would be helpful to know if the field had a history of manure application.
  • What are the expectations of the product or practice and can the needed measurements be made?

To answer your question, on-farm research compares two or more treatments in the field. 

Cast brothers showing root digs from on-farm research plots.
Cast brothers showing root digs from on-farm research plots.