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On-Farm Research Webcasts help growers make science-based management decisions

Iowa

High-quality research plays an important role in boosting yield and profitability on the farm, yet many lack the background or training to benefit from it.

Through its webcasted On-Farm Research Conference, Iowa State University helps give consultants, growers, and other agricultural professionals the knowledge to complete, recognize, and understand scientifically sound crop production research.

Project organizers designed the conference to give growers and agriculture professionals another tool in farming decisions.

"Many growers and agribusinesses are inundated with data, which they use to make critical decisions about production practices," said Daren Mueller, Iowa State University extension specialist and lead organizer of the event. "We want them to be able to recognize and understand scientifically sound crop production research that will help promote wise crop production and protection decisions, which is an integral goal of integrated pest management."

The webcasts cover three main subject areas: the basics of on-farm research design, data collection methods, and ways to improve data quality. Speakers include faculty and extension staff from Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Current presentation titles include Planning an Experiment, How to Improve Chances of a Successful Trial, Tools for Conducting On-Farm Research, Soil Fertility, Basics of Data Collection, Managing Data in On-Farm Research, Collecting Agronomic Production Data, Methods for Collecting Plant Disease Data, Collecting Insect Data, Weather/Climate Information for Agricultural Research, Economics and On-Farm Research, and Instrumentation, Sample, and Data Handling.

All the presentations can be found on the Plant Management Network, a nonprofit online publisher of science-based agricultural and horticultural information. View them at http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/onfarm.

The "Planning an Experiment" webcast is freely accessible for all. The other webcasts can be accessed by staff and students of the Plant Management Network's partnering universities and companies, and by current individual subscribers.

Others must subscribe for an annual fee ranging from $38 to $45. Subscription provides unlimited access to all of the Plant Management Network's eleven online crop protection and production resources. To subscribe or learn more, visit http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/subscriptions.

"The site will allow people to learn what it takes to organize and conduct scientifically valid on-farm research," said Mueller.

The On-Farm Research Conference was funded jointly by Iowa State University's Corn and Soybean Initiative, and the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center.



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