Implementing on-farm research trials to improve your long-term profitability

An agronomist says even though the 2024 crop isn’t in the ground yet, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s crop.

Stephanie Zelinko with AgroLiquid says growers can establish on-farm research trials this year to make better cropping decisions for the future. “With the technology we have nowadays, they can get some really quick answers of some very simple tests that will help them determine if these products they’re looking at will actually provide additional benefit to their farming operation,” she says.

She tells Brownfield farmers can’t rely on university and industrial trials alone, and if they want to incorporate on-farm research trials, they should start small. “Pick one thing that interests them,” she says.  “If we’re looking at a crop protection product or if we’re looking at a nutrient, don’t do a number of different nutrients or different practice changes in one season and look at that on a number of different acres.”

Zelinko says more accurate data comes from following consistent research methods.  She says a minimum of 20 acres per treatment at multiple locations will provide farmers with better information.

She says a successful trial isn’t just about yields. “The biggest part is to tie that back to that return on investment,” he says. “So put those dollars into it to make sure that that application that you’re adding to your operation is making any money.”

AUDIO: Stephanie Zelinko, AgroLiquid

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