Farmers are invited to participate in University of Missouri Extension’s 2017 Strip Trial Program, which focuses on cover crops and other agronomic comparisons.
The trial consists of multiple long strips laid out side by side in a field. Researchers and growers compare different management practices on each strip, using in-season aerial imagery and GPS-referenced yield monitor data to compare different cover crop treatments.
MU conducted strip trials at 40 locations last year. This year, cover crop trials will focus on yield impact to corn and soybean, optimum termination dates, ILevo soybean treatment, fine-tuning phosphorus requirements and optimum nitrogen timing for corn.
Farmers use their own equipment or that of their commercial applicator and work with their choice of an MU Extension specialist or other crop consultant to guide them through the process. At the end of the season, growers receive personalized, confidential evaluations of their trial. They also have access to aggregated results from trials in their area and statewide.
The grower-based program helps farmers and crop advisers compare on-farm management decisions and practices in a low-cost, low-risk setting, said Greg Luce, MU Extension corn specialist and research director for the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. He said strip trial research can help answer questions such as when growers should terminate cover crops for best results, whether erosion control or long-term soil health is the biggest benefit of cover crops, and whether cover crops are giving up nitrogen or tying it up in the soil.