This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Field Test

Read Time: 4 minutes
December 17, 2020
Kyle King
Senior Commercial Product Director, Climate LLC

Imagine paper. Lots of it. Each page containing notes and hand-drawn maps that correspond to tiny flags throughout your field, which you had to place one by one. All of this time, effort, and energy, just to see how two potential field scenarios stack up against one another. 

Traditionally, this was the reality of a field test. At best, it was a well-informed guess. At worst, it was a cumbersome shot in the dark. And either way, it was tedious and time consuming. 

It’s always important to learn how to make the most of your fields, and these days, field tests can be key in harnessing their fullest potential. That’s because technology has considerably improved implementation. In fact, with the right tools, today’s field tests are virtually unrecognizable from those of the past.

From Bottle Rocket to Spaceship

With FieldView™, you have all the insights to take your field tests to a whole new level. Evaluating what works best—and what doesn’t—for your unique operation has never been this easy. You can go way beyond a simple A/B test. This technology puts the power right at your fingertips to conduct tests on different hybrids/varieties, seeding densities, genetic potential, fertility management practices, crop protection, tillage practices, and anything else you can imagine.

The devil is in the details—and the beauty of FieldView is in its capability to easily manage those details.

Every farm has unique challenges and opportunities. And that’s precisely why every farmer can use yield analysis in different ways. To understand more about the many possibilities, we’ll take a look at how farmers around the country are getting more out of their field tests when they use digital tools.

Giant Leaps Ahead

You often hear change doesn’t come easy. But using FieldView to evolve your field testing is an exception to that rule. From setup to analysis, it’s simple to conduct multiple tests at once to learn how inputs are performing in specific environments. And best of all, rather than making decisions based on results from someone else’s trials across the state, the data you collect for your fields is yours to learn from. 

“Field testing with FieldView helps me take charge of my operation. I don’t have to rely on third-party data about another field to decide what to do with mine.”

— Jonathan Evans, Cotton & Soy Farmer, N.C.

Using FieldView yield analysis tools, you can see how seed population affected yield in different parts of a field.

Even on an individual farm level, FieldView helps to establish trends and precedents that can help farmers withstand the challenges of a difficult year. This is especially important given the increasingly unpredictable weather. By gathering data each season, you can build cumulative insights into how to mitigate or even leverage evolving conditions.

Team Effort

Conducting tests can be a team effort, with input from your agronomist or seed dealer informing your approach. For Matt Storby, owner of Storby Seed & Farm in Lake Mills, Iowa, using a digital tool to collaborate with his farmer customers is a must. 

In Matt’s experience, the ability to collaborate in real time with his farmers makes an incredible difference—especially over the last season, when in-person visits could be limited. “Instead of just sitting across the table sliding paper back and forth, we can keep track of everything on an iPad® and know exactly what’s been done—and what needs to be done, ” Matt said.

Yield analysis makes running field tests an intuitive process. But for the platform to do the work, there are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Keep your field boundaries current
  • Ensure all your equipment is properly synced
  • Upload any historical field data to get the full picture
  • Connect your account with the partners you work with for field tests

Creating and editing field boundaries is easy in FieldView.

“Everyone thought FieldView was only for the techie, progressive farmer. But it’s not. It’s literally for everyone, from my kids to customers we have who are in their seventies.”

— Matt Storby, Owner of Storby Seed & Farm, Iowa

Uncovering Your Profit Potential

Sometimes, what we think we know can hold us back. And when it comes to using yield analysis to perform field tests, farmers like Steve Skelton have found valuable solutions in unexpected places. On his farm in Ashland, Miss., Steve has run test plots for his corn, soy, and cotton crops with some illuminating results. 

“There is nothing like taking a look at data on your own farm—in your own situation, with your own farming practices, on your specific soil types—to get definitive answers to questions that I've had all my life.” 

— Steve Skelton, Corn, Soy & Cotton farmer, Miss.

He explains, “my field tests consistently help me determine what’s profitable—and that doesn’t always mean pushing for the highest yields.” By balancing the expense and potential of each input, the yield analysis tool helps farmers see if an input approach is actually worth it. And that insight goes a long way to accomplishing more on your farm, while using less. 

About the Author

Kyle is a Senior Commercial Product Director located in St. Louis, Mo. Kyle and his team lead field/farm protocols, as well as Climate’s knowledge transfer programs. Kyle grew up on a family farm in western Iowa where he and his family still enjoy returning to help with farming activities. He has been with Bayer/Climate for 18 years in commercial roles. Kyle is a graduate from Iowa State University with a BS in Agricultural Business.