Learning from on-farm research and farmers learning from each other is a cornerstone of a Yield Enhancement Network (YEN). First piloted in Europe, a YEN connects growers, researchers, and data to test theories and learn from each other using field-scale experience.
Aaron Mills, a research scientist with Agriculture & Agri-food Canada (AAFC), spoke this week at Summerside, PEI, with RealAg’s Shaun Haney about his work with YEN in the maritimes.
The maritimes is actually the birthplace of YEN in Canada. Mills met Daniel Kindred, a founder of YEN in Europe, at a conference and thought that a YEN would be a great source for data to determine how to increase wheat yields on Canada’s east coast.
Mills says YEN has been a great fit in the research network. With the The Atlantic Grains Council they have been able to fund YEN and recruit growers to the research program.
Mills says that as a scientist YEN gives him a tonne of data that they can jump into and look at the bigger trends over time.
Mills says that there was agreement between researchers that the plot-based research style was not resonating with growers as it could not be scaled up and findings were not always applicable. This sparked a switch to an on-farm research approach using grower’s data to determine trends and draw conclusions.
Mills says that growers have adopted the YEN model and it has sparked some friendly competition between friends and neighbours, too.
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