Monday, February 29, 2016

Benchmarking Soybean Production Systems

Benchmarking Soybean Production Systems
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois
source: North Central Soybean Research Program

Soybean farmers in ten states across the Midwest are being asked twenty questions. Todd Gleason has more on a Soybean Checkoff funded project to benchmark the yield impact of different production practices.

The primary goal of the Soybean Checkoff…
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The primary goal of the Soybean Checkoff funded project is to “benchmark” current yield and management practices in producer fields. This will happen across the north-central region of the United States. Think the Midwest. The “benchmark data” will help identify key management factors in each state and across the region. The hope is producers will use the information to increase soybean yield on their farms, and do that with an input-use efficiency that would improve profits. Essentially University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says the project is a survey that aggregates data so that each farm becomes a plot.

Nafziger :20 …made a difference in terms of yield.

Quote Summary - It does not replace our replicated research. However, every field becomes a plot in a system like this. It says for these thousands of fields here’s what we did and here’s what we harvested, and here’s what made a difference in terms of yield.

The collaborative project is directed through the North Central Research Program. Farmers in NE, WI, OH, MI, IA, IN, MN, KS, IL, and ND will be asked to self-report field yield and associated crop management practice data to (1) evaluate current on-farm management relative to recommended optimal practices, and (2) discern the yield impact of individual factors, and their relative importance. The project involves farmers filling out a form with about twenty questions on it says Emerson Nafziger.

Nafziger :35 …to soybean fields in the future.

Quote Summary - It does. And we are being very careful to make sure there are never any names attached to any of this. It’s using survey data to produce predictions about how we manage in a particular soil in the future. This is how applied research works. We want to predict what will happen when we narrow the rows or increase the seeding rate or add fungicide or do something like this to soybean fields in the future.

Data collected from the surveys will be aggregated and analyzed for patterns and implications. Project coordinators in each state, Nafziger for instance in Illinois, will manage the data collection and privacy issues. The survey will cover several growing seasons. The data is now being gathered on the 2014 and 2015 crops years.