On-Farm Research Opportunities for Southeast Nebraska Farmers

I had the opportunity to participate in the On-farm Research Reporting sessions last month in Auburn and Nebraska City and which was also available virtually for particpants. There were a number of projects reported on at the meeting; in 2020 there were over 100 on-farm research projects conducted through the Nebraska Extension On-Farm Research Program. We had a few conducted here in southeast Nebraska.  Daryl Obermeyer, Nebraska Soybean Board member from Nemaha County has a cover crop/soil health research project being conducted on his farm east of Auburn in Nemaha County. This study was initiated in 2016. He is planting winter-hardy vs. winter-terminated cover crops and determining their impact on the subsequent corn and soybean yields in his corn-soybean-wheat crop rotation. In 2020 both corn and soybeans planted following the winter hardy cover crop and winter-terminated cover crops had similar yields and were not significantly affected by the different cover crop treatments. Corn yields were (208 bu/ac vs 213 bu/ac) and soybean yields were (73 bu/ac vs76 bu/ac) following the winter-hardy vs the winter-terminated cover crops, respectively. This is different than in 2017 when corn following the winter-hardy cover crop yielded significantly less than the winter-terminated cover crop (168 bu/ac vs 183 bu/ac) and in 2018 when soybeans following the winter-hardy cover crops yielded significantly less that the winter-terminated cover crop (59 bu/ac vs 65 bu/ac). In 2017 soybean yields were similar following winter-hardy and winter terminated cover crops (61 bu/ac vs 62 bu/ac) respectively. In 2018 corn yields were similar (240 bu/ac vs 243 bu/ac) for the winter-hardy vs the winter-terminated cover crops, respectively. This site is also an NRCS Demonstration Farm that will go for 5 years. Crop yields will be measured each year of the study. Stephen Kennedy, Resource Conservationist, USDA NRCS and Aaron Hird, Nebraska Soil Health Specialist NRCS collected soil samples for base-line soil data and at the end of the five-year period will collect samples to determine if this cropping system impacted soil health as well.

This is just a sample of the many on-farm research projects we have in Nebraska each year. The on-farm research program has been conducted across Nebraska with Nebraska Extension for several years.  This program is expanding and getting stronger with support from the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.  These research projects cover products, practices, and new technologies that impact farm productivity and profitability. There are some projects that will pay farmers to participate and provide products for farmers to evaluate. In 2019 a soybean study was initiated to compare baseline soybean management practices compared to improved soybean management practices. Four studies conducted on-farm in Nebraska in 2019 showed the improved treatment resulted in an average 8 bu/ac yield increase and $46/ac profit increase compared to the baseline treatment. In 2020 six studies were conducted in Nebraska with the improved treatment resulting in an average of 5.4 bu/ac yield increase and $27.92/ac profit increase compared to the baseline treatment. This is part of a larger seven state project in the Midwest. In 2021 they are looking for more farmers to participate in this study. To find out more about this project go to:

https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2020/farm-research-study-investigate-practices-increase-soybean-yield

If you want to see the 2020 On-Farm Research publication go to: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch/farm-research-result-publications . If you want a hard copy, contact your local Extension Educator and they can get you a copy.

 To find out more about the on-farm research program go to: 

https://cropwatch.unl.edu/on-farm-research .

If interested in participating in these studies or for specifics on the above, please contact Laura Thompson, 402-245-2224, laura.thompson@unl.edu

If interested in conducting on-farm research, feel free to contact me as well, Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in southeast Nebraska who is a member of the On-Farm Research Network.  You can reach me at (402) 274-4755, (402) 274-9639 (cell) or glesoing2@unl.edu.

Gary Lesoing
Extension Educator
Nemaha County
March 2021