Sharing results with farmer participants

Sharing results with farmer participants

Sharing results from research efforts is an important part of our job. At UW Discovery Farms, we actively perform research throughout the year on working farms across Wisconsin. Research results are delivered annually to farm participants and their advisors to keep them updated on what we are seeing.
This winter, our staff has been busy getting together with farmers both individually and in regional clusters from the Tile Monitoring Project in Northeastern Wisconsin and from the statewide Nitrogen Use Efficiency Project. See what we are sharing and why it’s important.
Meeting with farmers during the winter season allows us to share their individual field data, as well as the data from the region, and to answer any questions. Regional meetings also give farmers an opportunity to engage with one another and learn from each other's farm systems and management decisions.
In the NUE Project, farmers have learned a lot from their zero-N strips. Some of these strips have proven to be very high yielding and farmers could not believe how much N was supplied by the soil to achieve this. Often times these are soils with a history of manure, no-till and high organic matter and farmers have been happy to see that hard work to implement practices seems to be leading in results that can be quantified by the data. -Abby Augarten, NUE Project Coordinator
Presenting the data to farms before they start implementing their management gives farmers more information to consider before getting into their fields. NUE is a great tool for assessing nitrogen management, and they will continue using this tool in their seasonal planning. - Aaron Wunderlin, NUE Team Member
I encourage farmers to decide what nitrogen rate is appropriate for their field yield goal; figure out how to accurately credit legume N and manure N-P-K for their unique farming system; and then supply the best complementary commercial nitrogen products and technology. -Kevan Klingberg, NUE Team Member
Wintertime is a great time period to meet with farmers as they typically are less busy with field operations.  It also is a good time to go over the previous year’s data since our monitoring year goes from October 1 to September 30. Discovery Farms typically gets the previous year data finalized and analyzed near the end of the calendar year, so the January and February meetings are a good time to go over the monitoring data collected, gather agronomic and management information from the farmer/agronomist and try and relate the field management to the water quality data.
Many great questions about the data were received through both the individual farmer meetings and group farmer discussions.  Additional factors to consider and other ways to analyze the data were some of the main points brought forth by the farmers, agronomists and tile installers.  This will be a tremendous benefit to the project moving forward.- Eric Cooley, Discovery Farms Co-Director
Farmers want to know if they are doing a good job managing their farm and protecting the water.
I am sharing lessons learned from the first year of tile monitoring.  Match manure applications to crop needs.  Manure has N,P, and K.  Can’t get one without the others.  Manure applied to warm soils leads to high nitrate losses in tile.  Surface inlets increase soil and phosphorous loss to tiles. -Aaron Pape, Tile Drainage Education Coordinator