SAREC trials in full swingWritten by Christy Hemken
SAREC Director of Operations Jim Freeburn says there are quite a few more trials this year than last, with a number of the new ones instigated by weed scientist Andrew Kniss who has brought “all kinds of projects and energy to the place.”
This year’s projects include several industry-sponsored along with many variety trials and a new grazing project.
SAREC Farm Manager Bob Baumgartner says in oilseed the farm has a winter canola variety trial as well as a camelina variety trial. Most of the trials are under irrigation, except for one on the dryland, which he says looks decent because of a couple timely rains this year.
“Last year our winter canola variety didn’t make it through the winter, but this year the it made it through and it looks like we’ll have a decent crop,” he says of problems with winter desiccation. “A lot of it depends in what stage it heads into the winter and how much growth and how many carbohydrate reserves its got.”
Although the farm has had sunflower variety trials in the past, this year it only has a sunflower herbicide trial. Baumgartner says sunflowers are growing on both irrigated and non-irrigated land.
One of the industry partners on a project is Busch Ag Resources of Ft. Collins, Colo. which is conducting a two-row and six-row malt barley variety trial. Syngenta is also conducting herbicide trials, along with spring grains and barley.
“For the last three years or so we’ve had space available on the research farm so in trying to get more research and get things filled up we’ve worked with commercial partners,” says Baumgartner of the companies. “Depending on what they want, we can make the space available and irrigate it while they take care of planting and spraying or we can also plant the crop for them and they come in and do the spray treatments and everything else.”
The farm has a large corn variety trial this year, including numerous herbicide trials and a large trial looking at the suppression of drought. “This trial is looking at a compound they’re spraying at certain growth stages to see if it will basically deter the effects of drought and moisture stress on yield,” explains Baumgartner.
In the farm’s pasture system this year is an intensive rotational system with a five-paddock system under an irrigated pivot. The grazing system was primarily set up for the current grassfed Lowline Angus study. “We’re trying to maximize the productivity under the pivots and I want to make them somewhat of a demonstration with the cross-fencing, which uses two different systems and suppliers,” says Baumgartner. “I’ve been taking clippings when we rotate in and out to get production and utilization data.”
An alfalfa variety trial on location was established last year and this year’s data will be the first. The trial was somewhat delayed upon establishment because of interest in including Roundup Ready alfalfa, which ended up not working out.
Last on the list of trials are those for sugarbeet herbicide and fungicide using all Roundup Ready beets. Baumgartner says there’s also a number of potato trials for the study of potato fungicide treatments.