Agronomy Geeks, The Western Canadian Edition — Ep. 3: On-Farm Field Trials & Machines that go Bing!

The ability to measure, track and vary inputs and other agronomic data far exceeds most people’s comfort level with data analysis. And if you’re all, whoa, what the heck is she talking about? You’ve made my point. Any new(ish) equipment comes with the fantastic built-in capability to track what its doing, and as farmers add more gear, units and technology to the seeder set up, not to mention advances in sectional control and more, the possible amount of data produced each year is staggering. But if you’re not tallying up the differences, or working with yield and input maps, or varying an input (with a check strip!) then, really, you’re not using the technology to its full capacity.

In this episode of the Agronomy Geeks podcast, Lyndsey Smith is joined by Brunel Sabourin, agronomist with Cargill based at Morris, Man., to tackle what it is farmers could be measuring (building off the last episode that discusses crop diagnostics) and then, once you’re in that groove, how to then begin on-farm field trials evaluating what you measure.

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GPS and variable rate mapping has made sophisticated on-farm trials possible, but that does that mean everyone should be doing them? Not necessarily. Sabourin discusses first the importance of tracking the factors that work into yield, from seeding conditions, rainfall amounts and timing and soil variability. From there, the yield map generated by the combine is just one tiny snippet of info, though it’s the part most farmers focus on. Sabourin talks about getting past just looking at yield, and start looking at variety head-to-head comparison, water use over the long term and why a blanket fertilizer rate could be seriously hamstringing yields over the short and medium term. All that and more in this 30 minutes of geeking out about agriculture.

The Agronomy Geeks podcast is brought to you by Cargill. Visit AskTheExpertNetwork.Ca to learn more.

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