Tips on setting up on farm trials

By Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul, Robert Mullen and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

More and more inputs are being pushed onto producers to raise yields. Some products have a substantial amount of data behind them and for others it is hard to find data. But producers can evaluate these treatments on their own farms. Plan now to leave non-treated strips in the field. This does not mean, the better half of the field gets the treatment and the other half doesn’t, which has been shown to be very biased.   To ensure a fair representation, plan to have the treatments cross the field in replicated strips. The direction of the strips should be such that parts of both the treated and nontreated strips are in both the light and dark ground. In other words, if the dark and light ground or woods at the edge of the field runs east-to-west, the treated and nontreated strips should run north-to-south.  Alternate the treatment strips across the field:

For example, if you have 2 comparisons, A and B, arrange them as follows:  A B, B A, A B, or A B, A B, B A

If you have 3 comparisons, A B and C, arrange them as follows:  A B C, B C A, B A C, C B A

As you set these comparisons up in the field, arrange them in widths wider than the combine. For aerial applications, plan for 3 widths to account for drift.  Since the fields are wet in many areas of the state, now is a good time to get out and put some flags in where these different treatments will go. A little prep work now before planting will make it easy when planting has to happen – and again when it is time to harvest to know which treatments are which and then monitor them through the summer.

If you need any assistance in monitoring, we would be glad to help. We expect to be short handed this summer, but if we have sites nearby, it would be nice to see what Ohio producers are looking at and what the challenges are.  Many factors (such as variety or hybrid, soil type, soil drainage, SCN population, soil pH, soil fertility, rainfall, temperature, etc)  can influence the response of plants to different treatments.  Keeping notes on the above and other relevant factors will be important to understanding yield response to treatment.

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