DIFM Trial Updates: Argentina

Take a look at DIFM’s recent 100-hectare corn seed rate per hectare trial design, located in Buenos Aires province, Argentina, and satellite imagery taken during the growing season.

DIFM team received a $4 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Our team has some BIG news! Read our full press release on Illinois ACES.

URBANA, Ill. – A University of Illinois research team, led by Agricultural and Consumer Economics Professor David Bullock, received a $4 million award from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement on-farm conservation practices.

The U of I project is entitled “Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation.” In collaboration with Washington State University’s Extension Program and cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers, researchers plans to deploy a data-intensive crop management system based on on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluation of the yield costs of reducing nitrogen losses, enabling data-informed input management decisions.

“The great thing about this award is that it gives us funding to make sure that every year we can increase the profits of participating farmers and their crop consultants,” Bullock says.

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Aerial View Of A DIFM Trial

Take a look at this 2020 on-farm trial located in Illinois.

Photograph from a drone. Many of the trial design’s plots can be distinguished with the naked eye.

AgriNews: Helping farmers conduct their own on-farm trials

Talon Becker is a University of Illinois Extension Commercial Agriculture Educator working with the Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) project to help farmers conduct their own on-farm trials throughout Illinois.

What seeding rate and/or fertilizer rate will result in the best possible yield for my field? This is one of the many questions that farmers ask themselves every year and that researchers and agronomists have been trying to answer for decades.

Numerous environmental and genetic hybrid or variety factors, either on their own or through interaction with each other, influence the actual optimum seeding and fertilizer rates for a given field or section of a field.

This is not a new concept. The influence of genetic and environmental variation and the interaction of these two major factors, often denoted as “GxE,” have been recognized since the early days of modern agronomic research.

Until recently, the best tools at the disposal of agronomists and agricultural researchers for estimating and accounting for the influence of these sources of variation in the estimation of optimal levels of a given agronomic input, such as seeding rate, have been multi-site and multi-year replicated trials.

Read the full article by Talon Becker, published on AgriNews: https://www.agrinews-pubs.com/2020/03/17/helping-farmers-conduct-their-own-on-farm-trials/asoec60/

The Furrow: Ag Research in a New Age

The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project was featured in the recent February edition of The Furrow.

Precision ag technology is spurring a dramatic change in agricultural research. It’s replacing the time-consuming test plot techniques of the past – the marking flags, tape measures, weigh wagons, and grad students – with today’s automated computer files, variable-rate controllers, and yield monitors. These new tools are empowering growers to easily and economically generate data that makes on-farm research a reality.

“This new approach is a real game-changer,” says David Bullock, agricultural economist at the University of Illinois. “The future could see farmers conducting experiments on their fields as routinely as they now take soil samples. The result will be management recommendations based on field data, rather than a ‘rule of thumb’ recommendation.”

Read the full article by Larry Reichenberger on The Furrow: https://www.johndeerefurrow.com/2020/02/18/ag-research-in-a-new-age/

Registration Open for Data Harvesting Workshop

Take a look at this upcoming workshop hosted by the Center for Digital Agriculture on the University of Illinois campus. A great opportunity for anyone interested in data science and Central Illinois agriculture.

FarmWeekNow: Interview with Dr. David Bullock

Dr. Bullock, PI of the Data-Intensive Farm Management Project, was recently interviewed by FarmWeekNow following his presentation at the University of Illinois Agronomy Day.

A data management research team, which includes University of Illinois researchers, is helping farmers leverage their existing precision technology to conduct on-farm trials and enhance their management, according to David Bullock, U of I agricultural and consumer economics professor.

Bullock, who spoke Thursday at U of I Agronomy Day, leads the Data Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) research team that generates and analyzes agronomic data to improve how the world fertilizes crops. DIFM is in the fourth year of a $4 million research project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. -FarmWeekNow

Click here to read the full article by FarmWeekNow.

 

Bullock Invited to Speak at InfoAg Conference

DIFM Principal Investigator David Bullock gave an invited presentation, titled “The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project: Using Precision Technology to Get the Information Needed to Use Precision Technology Profitably,” at the InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, on July 25. The InfoAg Conference bills itself as, “The Premier Event in Precision Agriculture,” and features seminars by agribusiness and academia, along with display booths by companies that have entered the digital agriculture industry.  Approximately one hundred farmers, crop consultants, and professionals in the digital agriculture industry were in attendance.  Agribusiness professionals from the U.S., Australia, and Ukraine approached Bullock after the presentation, expressing interest in learning more about collaborating with the DIFM project.  His Power Point presentation can be found at: https://infoag.org/.

Pictured above is just a few of the exhibits in the Union Station. Over 1200 registrants attended the 2019 InfoAg conference, held July 23-25th. The InfoAg Conference has been a premier event since 1995.

Maria Boerngen: Farmer Perspectives on Nutrient Reduction

DIFM’s Maria Boerngen was recently featured in CSA News Magazine for her study focused on farmer perspectives on nutrient loss strategies:

Maria Boerngen, an Assistant Professor of Agribusiness at Illinois State University, is interested in understanding how farmers access information and how they use that information in decision-making. In Agricultural & Environmental Letters (https://doi.org/10.2134/ael2019.02.0004), Boerngen and co-author Benjamin Marks recently published results of a study focused on farmer perspectives on nutrient loss strategies in one Illinois county. This pilot project was in preparation for a larger survey, but the approach is relevant for understanding how farmers discover information in general. For example, how do farmers learn about new crop varieties or new equipment? Or, what makes an individual farmer decide to implement a new management practice?

This specific pilot study consisted of a telephone survey of 30 farmers, conducted in 2016–2017. The researchers wanted to determine if farmers were familiar with the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, if farmers were concerned with nutrient loss, and if farmers were taking action to reduce N and P runoff. Released in 2015, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy was developed by a group of researchers and other stakeholders. The document outlines goals for reducing nutrient loss from agricultural land, industry, and urban landscapes. In addition to setting these statewide reduction goals for reducing N and P loss to the Mississippi River, the strategy includes suggested best management practices.

The results of these interviews revealed farmers are concerned about nutrient loss, even if they are not aware of the particular details of the state plan. Of the 30 farmers interviewed, 14 indicated they were familiar with the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Boerngen says it was encouraging to find out that 19 of the 30 said that they were concerned about nutrient loss and had taken steps to reduce the nutrient loss from their farms. These farmers also stated in interviews that their trusted sources of knowledge included researchers and retailers, suggesting that opportunities for researchers to communicate with farmers through field events can resonate with this group.

Click here to view the full article on CSA News Magazine.

Faces at DIFM: Hoselton Graduates from ISU

George Hoselton has been working with Data-Intensive Farm Management, under Dr. Maria Boerngen (Illinois State University), on his master’s thesis project since August of 2018. His research focused on understanding how farmers perceive nutrient loss.

Hoselton successfully defended his thesis, “Illinois Corn Farmers Concerns About Nutrient Loss and the Adoption of Best Management Practices” and graduated from Illinois State University with his Masters Degree this past weekend.

Congratulations, George! Thank you for the work you have contributed to DIFM!