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Consider conducting an on-farm soybean research trial in 2021


WEST LAFAYETTE, IN. – For the past 10 years, the Michigan Soybean On-farm Research program (formerly known as SMaRT) has evaluated the yield and income benefits of new products, practices and equipment in on-farm research trials. The on-farm research projects are selected based on input from soybean producers and agribusiness agronomists. The projects we plan to conduct in 2021 are summarized below.

Spring tillage

This project will determine the yield and income benefits of performing one-pass tillage operations compared to no tillage. Cooperators choose the tillage implement they want to evaluate.

Planting rates

This project will compare the effects of four planting rates on soybean yields and income. To balance statewide trial distribution, we are targeting irrigated sites and non-irrigated sites outside of the Thumb. The four planting rates for this project are 80,000, 100,000, 130,000 and 160,000 seeds per acre.

Planting date

This project will measure the effect that planting date has on soybean yield and income in 2021. An early planting date during the last week of April or as early as soil and weather conditions permit will be compared to a planting 2-3 weeks later.

Saltro seed treatment

This project will evaluate the performance of Saltro, a new seed treatment from Syngenta on sites having a history of moderate to severe sudden death syndrome and have soybean cyst nematode present. Saltro will be provided.

Row spacing

This project will compare soybean yield and income from two row spacings (15-inch versus 30-inch) planted with the same planter. This trial must be conducted using 15-inch row planters having the capability to plant in 30-inch rows.

In-furrow biological and humic acid

This project will evaluate the yield and income benefits of applying two products distributed by Wilbur Ellis (Nutrio Unlock and Puric Prime Max) in the seed furrow (products cannot be applied 2x2). Both products will be provided to cooperators.

2x2 starter fertilizer

This project will evaluate the yield and income benefits of applying 2x2 starter fertilizer when planting soybeans. The cooperators will select and provide the fertilizer and determine the application rate.

Planting system comparison

This project will compare the yield and income benefits of different planting systems (unit planters, box drills and air seeders) in the row widths and planting rates selected by the cooperator. For example, a 15-inch planter could be compared to a drill set up to seed in 15-inch rows or a 30-inch planter could be compared to a drill set up for 7.5-inch or 15-inch rows.

Rye termination timing (planting green)

This project will compare the yield and income benefits of planting into a green small grain cover crop to terminating the cover crop prior to planting.

Foliar fungicide (Miravis Neo)

This project will evaluate the effect of a single foliar application of a relatively new fungicide from Syngenta, Miravis Neo on soybean yield and income when applied in high-yield environments. The fungicide will be provided to the first 6 cooperators.

Foliar fertilizer plus post-emergence herbicide

This project will evaluate the yield and income benefits of adding a foliar fertilizer (NDemand 88 from Wilbur Ellis) to a post-emergence herbicide application. The NDemand 88 will be provided to cooperators.

White mold application timing

Two fungicide application timings will be compared to an untreated control treatment to identify the optimum fungicide application timing and to help validate the new Sporecaster phone app. This trial must be conducted in a field that has had severe and relatively uniform white mold within the past five years.

Cover crop (cereal rye)

This project will determine the yield, income and soybean cyst nematode population suppression benefits of adding a cereal rye cover crop prior to planting soybean. The trial should be conducted in fields with confirmed presence of soybean cyst nematode and the rye should be planted in alternating strips in late summer (after wheat or inter-planted into corn) or in the fall following corn harvest. The strips should be wider than the combine header.

In 2020, 54 producers conducted 70 soybean on-farm trials which were summarized in the 2020 Michigan Soybean On-farm Research Report. Many of these producers have told me they gain valuable information by conducting trials on their farms because they learned how the products, practices or equipment performed on their soils and under their management. We are always looking for new cooperators, so I encourage anyone interested in conducting one of the projects listed above to contact me by phone (269-355-3376) or email (staton@msu.edu).