Today, hundreds of South Dakota soybean growers double as citizen scientists, testing various products and farming practices in their own fields with the intent to increase yields, ward off pests and disease and improve overall profits.
Now, thanks to the South Dakota Soybean On-Farm Research Program website, farmers can easily share on-farm research data and navigate local test results. The website is supported by a collaborative effort between SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (SDSRPC) and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU.
“The South Dakota soybean checkoff is excited to launch the On-Farm Research Program tool,” said Matt Bainbridge, an Ethan farmer and SDSRPC Chairman. “We have a lot of innovative farmers across the state completing a number of interesting research trials on their farms. This website brings the results to all South Dakota farmers and will help us identify trends and strategies to increase soybean yields.”
For more than a century, SDSU faculty, researchers and SDSU Extension staff have worked with South Dakota farmers to conduct on-farm research. What sets this program apart is the easy access to results and the farmer-driven nature of the research.
“Essentially, farmers get to choose what treatment or practice they want to test and our team will work with them to set up the protocol, collect the data, analyze the data and share the results on the website,” explained David Clay, SDSU Professor of Plant Science.
Once results are available, they will be posted anonymously for all to see on the website. The website is designed for easy navigating. Soybean growers can search by research trial and location.
“Farmers are inundated with product information that will allegedly boost yields. The best way to know if it will work on their farm is to test it there. Or, visit this website, where they can see if a test has already been conducted on a field near them and review results,” Clay said.
This collaborative project is funded by SDSRPC, the South Dakota soybean checkoff organization.
“This project fits perfectly within the research and outreach mission of our land grant university,” said David Wright, Department Head of the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science. “Our team is eager to work with South Dakota’s soybean farmers to expand knowledge and improve on-farm profits.”