May 2019

In this new video, hear from 6 Nebraska On-Farm Research participants about their on-farm research experience. Watch the Video!

NorthPlatte OFR 2019-0400

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network traces its origins to a group of producers conducting collaborative research in east-central Nebraska in 1990. Over the years, the project has grown into a statewide network, working with crop producers and crop advisors to research various issues of importance for corn, soybean, wheat, and dry edible bean production. Over 140 farmers have participated over the years, and many have participated for numerous years. A recent study was conducted to find out why farmers participated in an on-farm research program. The study also examined the impact of participation. The study was conducted by interviewing 40 of the past participants of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network.

Key findings and highlights of the study are presented in this article.


As you consider how to increase efficiency and get more yield from the same or fewer inputs this year, on-farm research may be just the tool you need to get local data for sound decision-making.

There’s still time to add an on-farm research component to your operation for this year. Nebraska Extension educators can help design a research plan to test your question in your field, using your equipment and planting practices. This ensures the findings apply directly to your particular situation.

If you haven’t planted yet, some studies like testing different planting populations are easy to design and conduct. Studies on planting speed, planting depth, or starter fertilizers also might still be planned. If you’re still applying fertilizer, you might test different N rates, N stabilizer products, or application methods. During the crop season, you might test foliar fungicide applications, irrigation management strategies, or interseeding cover crops.


While soybean seeding rates are not as critical to soybean yield as other factors such as genetics and planting date, questions regarding the agronomic and economical soybean seeding rate continue to surface. There is much data from Nebraska Extension and other Midwestern universities regarding these questions with the general theme that soybean seeding rates can be reduced without significantly impacting yield.

Key Points
* Nebraska On-Farm Research data from eastern Nebraska and western Nebraska for 12 years of combined data showed only a 0.6 bu/ac yield increase when seeding 180,000 soybean seeds/acre compared to 120,000 seeds/acre in 15-inch or 30-inch rows. (No studies in sandy soils).
* Soybean seeding rates of 90,000 to 120,000 seeds/acre resulted in the highest profitability.
* Two Nebraska On-Farm Research data-intensive management studies in 2018 showed no statistical yield difference in seeding rates from 100,000 seeds/acre to 175,000 seeds/acre with the highest profitability at 100,000-125,000 seeds/acre.
* Our studies did not adjust for seed germination as each seed lot had at least 90% germination. With lower seed germination expected this year, if seeding less than 150,000 seeds/acre, we’d recommend factoring in the germination percentage. If seeding 150,000 seeds/acre or more with an 80-98% germination, based on our research we don’t recommend increasing the seeding rate as there’s already enough seed.

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