Organic Production Research
We test many different production strategies on organic row crops to see what the most efficient way of organic farming is. We also do research to determine how to overcome the yield-limiting factors in organic production, such as weed control, fertility management, insect control, and more. We test many different types of equipment, including rotary hoes, cultivators, and weed burners. We also spend a lot of time testing the plethora of organically approved row crop products in the marketplace so farmers can know which products they should use. Using all of this information, we help farmers get the most return-on-investment in organic farming.
Hybrid/Genetic Variety Performance Trials
We do research on the overall performance of different hybrids and genetic varieties. We test how different hybrids and genetic varieties perform in different areas and conditions. We do this testing in areas across the Midwest, Mid-south, and East Coast. We also test how different hybrids and genetic varieties respond to different types of product applications. We do this testing on corn, soybeans, and wheat. Using data from these trials, we are able to recommend what hybrids and genetic varieties will be best in certain situations.
Irrigated vs. Non-Irrigated Performance Trials
In our irrigated vs. non-irrigated performance trials, we do testing to measure the performance difference in crops when they are irrigated compared to when they are not irrigated. Our irrigation methods include center pivot irrigation, flood irrigation, and drip irrigation. We do these trials in a couple of different ways. In some trials, we irrigate an entire plot and compare it against another entire plot that was not irrigated. In others, we will use drip irrigation to only irrigate half of a plot and compare how each half performed. We use the data from these trials to determine which varieties and crops respond better to drought-like conditions, as well as measure the optimal amount of water to put on crops.
We do a lot of research on foliar and in-furrow applications. During these trials, measure the effects on yield and plant health of numerous different products when applied to corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops, applied as either a foliar (spray over the top) or in-furrow (application in the row) application. Products we test in this manner include biological products, fungicides, inoculates, liquid fertilizers, and other yield-enhancing products. We can use the data from these trials to make recommendations on what products will help farmers the most in numerous situations.
Yield Enhancing Biological Products
Since 2008, we have been doing extensive research on yield enhancing biological products. Biologicals, or microbials, are living organisms that have been found do have a direct benefit to the health of a plant. During these trials, we measure the effect on yield of different types and rates of these biological products. We also measure factors such as the BRIX level, insect pressure, and disease resistance of the plants when biological products have been applied compared to when these products have not been applied. Using this data, we can make recommendations on how to use biological products to achieve the highest yields.
In stress variety research, we test what effect stressors have on the yield and plant health of certain varieties of corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops. Stressors include drought conditions, insects, and weather / environmental conditions. We test to see which varieties respond well to these stress conditions. We use this data to make recommendations to growers who want to prevent yield loss from these conditions.
During our farming practices research trials, we test how different farming practices effect yield and other factors. We test practices such as ridging, strip-till, no-till, cover crops, flood irrigation, drip irrigation, and many others. Using data from this research, we can determine which farming practices work best in certain geographic areas.
Seed Population Studies
In our seed population studies, we do research on how the seed population effects the yield and overall plant health. We do tests on corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops to see how each responds to different seed populations. We can use this data to make recommendations on seed populations to get the highest yield.
Crop Rotations / Continuous Corn
In our crop rotations / continuous corn studies, we look at how well crops do when on a rotation, as well as looking at the performance of a continuos corn crop. With low commodity prices, some farmers are turning to doing a back-to-back soybean crop, so we are also researching how this performs as well as how to mitigate yield loss in that situation. We can use the data from these studies to make management recommendations to growers.
On Farm Test Plot Planting
In trait vs. non-trait research, we test how a crop with certain traits perform in combination with several factors compared to a crop without that trait. Some of these factors are geographic area, environmental conditions, weather conditions, soil compaction, and many others. We can use the data we collect from this to make recommendations on which seed varieties a grower should use.
Trait vs. Non-Trait
We do a lot of our testing in plots right here at The Farm Research Center. We can do strip trials, randomized plots, replicated plots, horizontal field trials, and block testing, as well as very small scale and very large scale field trials. We have the ability to plant in-furrow, as well as apply nitrogen or a pre-emergence soybean herbicide at planting. If you would like to talk to us about custom research, please contact us here.