In 2011, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council leaders agreed to invest checkoff funds in a unique research project focused on investigating how drainage affects soybean yields. Equally important, the Council wanted to study how management should differ between well-drained and poorly-drained soils. Earlier this week, MSR&PC Directors Rochelle Krusemark, Ben Storm and Glen Groth toured the 14-acre site north of Wells.
This work is completely novel, as it requires a specialized long-term research site to evaluate these effects. The site in southern Minnesota includes eight independently-drained blocks so that four have been left in an un-drained condition, and four have been drained since tile installation. In 2016, the blocks were further split to allow us to examine the interactions between drainage and tillage (conventional, strip-till, no-till). To date, the findings from this site have been rich, but our latest four-year research project is ending. It’s time to develop new research protocols to answer important questions for today’s farmers.
University of Minnesota Extension Agronomist Seth Naeve is looking for a few farmers who are interested in research on tillage and drainage to provide input and guide the development and implementation of new research studies at this unique site.
Naeve hopes to establish an informal steering committee focused on this research. If farmers have questions about how to best manage well-drained or poorly-drained fields, or if they are interested in the implications of tillage practices on yields and soil quality, Naeve urges farmers to please provide their input.