Overview of 2018 SMaRT (Soybean Management and Research Technology) on-farm research projects

Michigan soybean producers conduct on-farm research trials as part of the SMaRT program. The 2018 projects have been identified and producers are encouraged to participate.

March 20, 2018 - Author: Michael Staton, Mike Staton, Michigan State University Extension

2016 SMaRT trial harvest in progress. Photo: Mike Staton, MSU Extension.
2016 SMaRT trial harvest in progress. Photo: Mike Staton, MSU Extension.

The SMaRT program (Soybean Management and Research Technology) provides Michigan soybean producers with a statistically valid method for evaluating the yield and income benefits of new products, equipment and management practices. Our goals are to keep the trials as easy as possible for the cooperators to conduct and yet generate credible, meaningful and reliable results that producers can use to increase their profitability.

Producers across Michigan have identified new products and management practices of interest to them and will evaluate the identified projects in field-scale research trials in 2018. The data from these trials will be collected, subjected to statistical scrutiny, summarized across locations and years, and shared with soybean producers in the 2018 SMaRT On-farm Research Report and at educational meetings. The identities of the cooperating farmers are always kept confidential.

The products and production practices we will evaluate in 2018 are listed below.

  • Planting rates. This trial will compare four planting rates (80,000; 100,000; 130,000; and 160,000 seeds per acre). We need to conduct more planting rate trials in mid-Michigan and southwest Michigan to ensure that the results apply to these areas. This trial is very easy to conduct if the planting equipment is equipped with hydraulic or electronic drives on the seed metering system.
  • ILeVO seed treatment. This trial will compare a complete seed treatment (multiple fungicides plus an insecticide) selected by the cooperator with and without ILeVO, a fungicide from Bayer Crop Science that targets sudden death syndrome. This trial should be conducted in fields having a history of moderate to severe sudden death syndrome or soybean cyst nematodes.
  • Complete seed treatment. This trial will compare a complete seed treatment (multiple fungicides plus an insecticide) to no seed treatment. Cooperators will learn the actual yield and income benefits of the seed treatments they plan to use in 2018.
  • LiberateCa in-furrow. This trial will compare an in-furrow application of a liquid calcium fertilizer from AgroLiquid to an untreated control.
  • Field rolling: This trial will allow cooperators to select the field rolling times they want to compare on their farms (pre-emerge, V1 or V2) to an unrolled control.
  • Prescription foliar fertilizer. This trial compares field-specific, foliar fertilizer mixtures based on composite in-season, plant tissue test results to an unfertilized control.
  • White mold foliar fungicide comparison. This trial will compare the effects of two white mold fungicides (Omega from Syngenta and Propulse from Bayer Crop Science) to an untreated control. This trial should be conducted in fields having a history of moderate to severe white mold.
  • Foliar fungicide and Insecticide tank-mixture. This trial will compare a single application of a foliar fungicide and insecticide tank-mixture selected by the cooperator to an untreated control.
  • Pre-plant broadcast ammonium sulfate. Research conducted at Purdue University has shown some significant yield increases by broadcasting granular ammonium sulfate (21-0-0-24) prior to planting soybeans. This trial will compare a broadcast application of 100 pounds of ammonium sulfate to an unfertilized control.
  • Max-in Sulfur foliar fertilizer. This trial will compare a single foliar application of Max-in Sulfur fertilizer (0-0-19-13) plus MasterLock adjuvant to an unfertilized control. Both products are distributed by Winfield United.

While the SMaRT on-farm trials are designed to improve the profitability of all Michigan soybean producers, the trial cooperators benefit the most from the program. This is because they learn how the products or management practices perform under the specific conditions existing on their farms. Also, in 2018 the cooperating producers will have the opportunity to select the specific products (seed treatments and foliar fungicide/insecticide tank-mixtures) they want to evaluate.

If you are interested in conducting one or more of these trials on your farm in 2018, please contact me at 269-673-0370 ext. 2562 or staton@msu.edu as soon as possible.

This article was produced by the SMaRT project (Soybean Management and Research Technology). The SMaRT project was developed to help Michigan producers increase soybean yields and farm profitability. SMaRT is a partnership between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program.

Tags: agriculture, field crops, msu extension, soybeans

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