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Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Helps Growers Generate Results

As corn and soybean growers work to get crops out of their fields this fall, many are beginning to look toward the 2016 growing season. Harvest is the ideal time to consider how on-farm research could benefit farming operations.
The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network provides an opportunity for growers to get questions answered about their own fields. Research typically is conducted with the producer’s equipment, on the producer’s land and using the producer’s management practices. The goal of the network is to address critical farmer production, profitability and natural resources questions.
Nebraska On-Farm Research Network Helps Growers Generate Results
Nebraska Extension educator Nathan Mueller consults with a grower participating in the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network.
Several areas of on-farm research need to be planned now, such as fertilizer and cover crop studies. There are a number of fertilizer decision management tools available that growers could use to evaluate on their fields. Conducting that type of research requires planning ahead, which is where the research network can provide support. “The on-farm research team will help growers develop a custom plan for research experiments to help them get reliable information to use when making future decisions," said Nebraska Extension Educator Laura Thompson.
Current on-farm research topics include: optimal planting populations, including variable rate seeding approaches, nitrogen management using several new technologies, strip-tillage, evaluation of insect and disease control products and row spacing. Keith Glewen, Nebraska Extension educator, has worked with farm operators conducting on-farm research for many years.
“The farm operator makes the final decision as to the research topic to be evaluated,” Glewen said. “We encourage growers to give careful thought as to what production practice may be limiting profitability or could enhance the use of soil and water resources on their farm.”
Nebraska Extension has 23 cropping systems educators who cover all 93 counties. The educators are dedicated to meeting with growers on their farms and helping them answer questions specific to their region in Nebraska.
“We don’t all farm the same soil or in the same climate, so we don’t expect the same research questions or the same results across the state,” said Nathan Mueller, a Nebraska Extension educator located in Fremont.

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