“I don’t have 50 years of experience. I have one year of experience 50 times” – farmer
Every time we grow a crop, the interaction of genetics, management and environment (G x E x M) result in a unique outcome. This inherent variability of agricultural production systems has been a fascinating challenge motivating farmers, agronomists and researchers to identify consistent responses that can lead to more effective decision making. We know that we can leverage information from a network of farms and from different regions, but it is not always clear how this should be done. In addition, environmental and growing season data are critically important but it is not always used to its full potential. A possible avenue to answer questions regarding cropping system performance is through analyses of data generated from on-farm research networks (OFRNs). Much effort typically goes into planning and executing these trials with less emphasis on delivering this information to different users in a way that can result in better recommendations. This can be done by developing data-driven decision support tools.
We have recently launched ISOFAST (Interactive Summaries of On-Farm Research Trials), which has a goal to provide easy, dynamic and transparent access to results from the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Research Network results. So far, we have included 18 trial categories for soybean and 9 for corn. The practices and products evaluated include plant protection (e.g. fungicides, insecticides), crop management (e.g. planting density and row spacing) and fertility (e.g. sulfur, UAN, Lime).
For each category we include the following information:
- What was done
- Trial locations
- Weather conditions
- Yield comparisons
- Trial summaries and economics
- Aggregate summaries
- Scouting data (when available)
Additional resource: Iowa State, Iowa Soybean Association offer new way to view on-farm research data
Example of comparing high and low planting density for soybeans. The standard density was 140-170k seed/ac and the high planting density was 170-200k seed/ac.