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Farmers are continually evaluating products and practices, often by comparing their current practice to an alternative that is new or expected to be better. Farmers working with University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educators and Specialists in farm research groups realize the value of conducting valid, scientifically-based research on their own farms. Research studies are driven by farmer questions that they test in their own fields. Extension Educators and Specialists work with farmers to ensure information generated and inferences made, are based on sound experimental design, statistical analysis and economic interpretation.
Studies are implemented using field length research plots and farmers’ equipment. Most studies have five or six randomized replications and continue for three or more years. Studies may have fewer replications and include several farmers focusing on the same issue where data is aggregated.
In 2012, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association partnered with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to develop the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. This is a network of UNL faculty, growers and private industry representatives that address important agronomic issues via on-farm research through the state. Priority research areas are irrigation, nitrogen management and corn planting population studies. Growers that engage in a study focused in any of these areas may also have additional studies focused on their unique farming environment.