April 22, 2014
When you plant this spring, it signifies a new beginning – a new planting season. It also is a new season for testing of new concepts or possible new products that may have benefit to you down the road. Dave Nanda, director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says you ought to have at least one test plot on your farm.
Test plot season: As you work to get crops in the ground, others will be planting various tests to help learn from the growing season. Here Chad Martin, Purdue University, prepares to plant a test plot studying alternative grasses as possible feedstocks for the future.
Maybe it's to compare hybrids or varieties, or maybe it's to compare practices or some new fertilizer or additive product you want to try. Either way, Nanda says the value of having a test plot on your own farm with your soils and under your farming methods makes it important. After the results are in, you can look for similar tests and see how the results stack up to what you found in your trial.
Several other companies will be testing new products this year. Brian Denning, an AIM agronomist in the Monsanto research program, who works with Stewart Seed customers in the Eastern Corn Belt, says their plots will look at a variety of new concepts.
"We'll be looking at how corn yield responds to population density, looking at responsive and non-responsive products in medium and high-yield environments," he says.
"We'll also look at how various tools geared to increase efficiency of N application work. We'll look at Green Seeker, the Adapt-N web-based tool developed at Cornell University, and the Climate Pro Nitrogen Advisor."
Other companies will be testing equipment. Beck's Hybrids is working with Kinze to test up to half a dozen multi-hybrid concept planters under real world conditions this year. The planters will be working in the Midwest. The first one planted fields on the Perryman Farm in Texas in February.
Precision Planting will also be testing a new seed tube and a multi-hybrid planter unit that they introduced earlier this year.
More than just farmers get busy when the weather clears. Those wanting answers to various problems will be out there planting plots as well.
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