Project Details:

MU Certified Strip Trial Initiative: Cover Crop Trials

Parent Project: MU Certified Strip Trial Initiative
Checkoff Organization:Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council
Categories:Crop management systems, Education, Soil fertility
Organization Project Code:378-22
Project Year:2022
Lead Principal Investigator:John Lory (University of Missouri)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Kaitlyn Bissonnette (University of Missouri)
Kent Shannon (University of Missouri)
Keywords: Cover Crops, crop management, soil & tillage management

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

A signature Missouri program helping farmers validate management decisions on their farm and document efficiency and environmental stewardship. The “MU Certified” Strip Trial Program is uniquely focused on management questions and challenges associated with cover crops and other agronomic practices.

Key elements of the program include:
• Reliance on a farmer panel to annually identify and prioritize strip trial options offered.
• Statistically valid side-by-side comparisons of two or three management strategies in a trial, ideally tested on multiple Missouri farms for two or more years.
• Provide the farmer access to professional support to answer questions and facilitate implementation of the trial.
• Provide the cooperating farmer a comprehensive report of trial results for their trial.
• Integrate trial results across farms to improve MU recommendations and document what farmers are doing right and where there are opportunities for improvement.
• Regional meetings in January and February with farmers who had trials and farmers who are interested in trials to discuss trial results.
• Sharing results through web pages, social media, and news media.

Project Objectives

The goal of our cover crop trials is to learn from farmers who have had success with cover crops or have an interest in trying new cover crop strategies.

Project objectives include:
1. Be a farmer guided program, answering farmer questions with trials on Missouri farms.
2. Provide farmers a trial design that works with their equipment and support by MU Extension to answer any questions and solve any problems.
3. Survey residue cover, cover crop and grain crop with drones in fall, early spring, late spring, after grain crop emergence and during the growing season.
4. Provide cooperating farmers a report summarizing their results based on their yield map and integrate results with other trials around Missouri.
5. Regional working sessions in the winter with farmers that have an interest in strip trials and strip trial results.

Project Deliverables

The campus team integrates farm-specific results across locations and years while protecting the identity of participating farmers. Farmers receive a report summarizing yield results and a subsequent report integrating results with other trials around Missouri. Our goal is to have regional working session in the winter with farmers that have an interest in strip trials and strip trial results, within the limits created by the COVID situation. Additionally, we appreciated the opportunity to work with Missouri Soybean Association last winter and participate in regional meetings giving a summary of trial results; we hope to continue this participation. We also continue to improve our web page with MU Extension.

Progress of Work

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

A strip trial program has the potential to expand the delivery of unbiased best management recommendations for nutrient management, agronomic, and conservation management practices. This information will improve the efficiency and profitability of Missouri farmers. Equally as important, this program demonstrates proactive intent of Missouri’s grain producers to use agrochemicals and nutrients wisely and efficiently, and promotes practical innovations in agronomic management.

Investment in the Missouri Strip Trial program is creating a team of farmers, MU Specialists and support staff to ensure farmers have the technical support needed to implement a statistically valid test on their farm. It is also creating a framework that ensures lessons learned from trials are shared with other farmers through meetings and social media, and contribute to improving MU recommendations. The program also allows agricultural organizations to demonstrate crop farmers’ commitment to sustainable

Ultimately, trial information contributes to improvements in MU recommendations and provides all partners information on the efficiency of Missouri farmers. For example, in 2019, the wet spring forced many farmers with cover crops to “plant into the green.” Results and experiences with planting into the green from the strip trial program were credited as contributing to articles helping farmers not familiar with this practice.

Performance Metrics

Project Years