Pulse Beat Individual Articles

On-Farm Network: A Decade of Farmers Performing Research

Laura Schmidt, MSc, PAg, Production Specialist – West, MPSG

2023 MARKS THE 11th year of on-farm research conducted by MPSG. Over 450 on-farm trails have been conducted in every region of Manitoba (figure 1). More than 200 farmer members have received MPSG support to investigate the ins and outs of soybean and pulse agronomics and crop input products at field scale.

As shown in the pie chart (Figure 2), farmers’ curiosity has focused on a select number of basic farm practices.

As soybean production in the province has evolved, so has the On-Farm Network. Figure 3 charts the evolution of our program as we respond to grower questions. Recently, we’ve taken another step to improve the usefulness of on-farm trials. Rather than simply evaluating the effect of practices and products on yield, now we dive deeper investigating the why of the yield results we’re seeing.

What plant stands emerge from our tested seeding rates? How many plants survive to harvest? Are there row spacing impacts on weed pressure in the field? What disease dynamics are impacting fungicide trial results? Questions like these guided the direction of the research program.

To end this growing season, we added a new staff member to our MPSG team, Chris Forsythe. Chris has joined us as the next On-Farm Network Agronomist. We hope you’ll say hi if you see him this winter!