You still may be planting soybeans. But now’s the time to start tracking what’s being found on Pennsylvania farms participating in On-Farm Network research projects across the state. Now in its ninth year, the On-Farm Network is funded by checkoff dollars through the Pennsylvania Soybean Board and administered by researchers and Extension educators at Penn State University.
This year’s research focuses on monitoring slugs and determining yield-limiting factors impacting soybean production.
“We’re interested in establishing sampling areas in the field to look at what factors influence yield at the local, regional and state level," explains Penn State plant pathologist Paul Esker. He and senior Extension educator Del Voight head up the network. “We’ll trap for slugs. We’ll also use soil and plant sampling to improve knowledge of soil biology, nematodes and fertility in relation to pests and diseases that impact Pennsylvania soybean production.”
With soybean acreage on the rise in northern and western Pennsylvania, the On-Farm Network will also conduct research specific to those growing environments, Voight adds. That will include the use and need for fungicide seed treatments plus best management practices for plant populations and soybean variety selections.
The network works by conducting research in real-world conditions on test plots planted by farmer-collaborators on their own farms with their own equipment. For the results of past studies from the On-Farm Network, visit the Pennsylvania Soybean Board website. During the growing season, updates will be available on Penn State Extension’s Field Crop News.
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