Overview of 2019 SMaRT (Soybean Management and Research Technology) on-farm research projects

On-farm research trials conducted by Michigan soybean producers are an important part of the SMaRT program. The 2019 projects are listed in this article and producers are encouraged to participate.

March 7, 2019 - Author: ,

2016 SMaRT trial harvest in progress
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 farm income.

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 2019. The data from these trials will be collected, subjected to statistical scrutiny, summarized across locations and years, and shared with soybean producers in the 2019 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 2019 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.
  • Acceleron NemaStrike seed treatment. This trial will compare Acceleron fungicide and insecticide seed treatment with and without NemaStrike, a product from Bayer CropScience that targets soybean cyst nematodes (SCN). This trial should be conducted in fields having a confirmed presence of SCN.
  • 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 2019.
  • Row spacing. This trial will compare soybean yields in 15-inch rows and 30-inch rows. The trial must be conducted by producers that have interplant planters capable of planting both 15-inch and 30-inch rows.
  • Prescription foliar fertilizer. This trial will compare field-specific, foliar fertilizer mixtures based on in-season, plant tissue test results to an unfertilized control.
  • White mold Cobra and foliar fungicide comparison. This trial will evaluate the effect of a sequential application of Cobra herbicide followed by Approach fungicide vs a single application of Propulse fungicide on white mold disease incidence and soybean yield. This trial should be conducted in fields having a history of 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 per acre of ammonium sulfate prior to planting 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. This trial should be conducted on irrigated, coarse-textured soils with low organic matter levels.
  • Spring tillage. The purpose of this project is to determine the yield and income benefits of performing one-pass tillage operations compared to no-tillage. Cooperators can choose the tillage implement they want to evaluate. The same planting equipment must be used for both tilled and un-tilled strips and must be equipped and operated to perform well in no-till conditions.
  • Cover crop (cereal rye). The purpose of this project is to determine the yield, income and SCN 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 SCN 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.
  • Planting date. The purpose of this trial is to measure the effect that planting date has on soybean yield in 2019.

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 2019 the cooperating producers will have the opportunity to select the specific products (complete 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 2019, 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: field crops, msu extension, on-farm research, smart research projects, soybeans

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