By Lauren Quinn
U of I News Bureau
URBANA – Last spring, a new multi-state research project funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program was initiated to investigate the effects of weather, soils, and management on soybean yields. The project’s University of Illinois leader put out a call to soybean farmers to help gather data for the project.
“We were looking to gather basic information on at least 500 Illinois soybean fields for each of the crop years 2014 and 2015; the project runs through 2017,” says U of I crop sciences professor Emerson Nafziger. “We appreciate that some farmers provided information, but we ended up with less than a quarter of the fields we needed for the first two seasons.”
The team is asking for help to fill in the holes. Producers are asked to provide information for up to four soybean fields on a form (one per crop year, 2014 to 2016). The form is located at go.illinois.edu/soy-survey.
The form requests about 20 pieces of information for each field, including field location, planting date, variety, and seeding rate. Most farmers will be able to record information for a field in 10 or 15 minutes.
“This project can be described as a search to find what we should work on next with regard to soybean research. The goal is to have thousands of fields in a large database, then to see how soil, weather, and management interact to produce yield,” Nafziger explains.
Nafziger encourages FFA and college students to participate, giving them experience with scientific studies and a reward for their efforts.
To provide an incentive, anyone who fills out information forms and returns a gift card request form along with the information sheets will receive a $50 gift card.
“The more fields we’re able to get information on, the more useful this effort will be,” Nafziger explains. “As the largest and best state for soybean production, we are hoping to produce the largest and best set of information of all states involved in this effort.”
Farmers who want to participate can fill out the form posted at the link given above, or can contact Nafziger at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to have forms sent by email. The project is also described on the Bulletin.