Since I have been working with the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge, I have had the goal to engage youth in agronomy-related fields and what better way than to include technology! With the assistance of a great team of Nebraska Extension faculty, accessing resources from On-Farm Research is now available at your fingertips – in the field, in the tractor or truck, or wherever you want to use the research app. The research app launched in April 2015 is available for iPhone, iPad and Android users. This tool has multiple uses; from the producer working in the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network to doing plot work on their own and more!
The app enables users to create treatment strips in their own fields and develop a map of their research study. Once the field is created the user has the ability to enter periodic observations related to insects, diseases, weeds, irrigation totals, or other key observations, including photos. At the conclusion of the research trial, the user inputs the harvest results and exports them to an excel file. The plot layout, observations, and yield data can all be emailed at any time as an excel file. The data collected will be beneficial to both the app user and to those evaluating the data and results with the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network.
Keith Glewen, Nebraska Extension Educator, has assisted with the app from the beginning and notes, “This app is the first known smartphone tool available for growers to easily develop their own infield on-farm research trials”. The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is an opportunity for crop producers and University faculty to work closely and generate un-biased, research-based answers at the field level. Participants have the opportunity to work closely with UNL faculty in designing projects, carrying them out, and analyzing the results.
Laura Thompson, Extension Educator became involved and has statewide responsibilities with the Nebraska On-Farm Research and provided much technical information. Laura stated, “The power of on-farm research is being able to sort out the inherent field and environmental variability and to determine if differences are the result of the treatment being studied effect. This app makes it simple to set up and visualize a well-designed study that will address questions growers are interested in. The introduction of this app is just one more way we are working with on-farm research participants to collect information that is important to them and to farmers all across the state.”
This app provides youth the opportunity to become engaged with the scientific aspects associated with on-farm research. There is no fee to join the network. The mission of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is to assist growers in increasing production, reducing inputs, and maintaining or improving profits. To learn more about the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network and the smartphone app, go to: http://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch.