Today, we want to give an introduction to this year’s “Mega Trial”. Over the last couple of years, Continuum Ag has helped farmers and our overall network to understand products and practices that can help improve soil health. We’ve been working with a wide array of different ag input companies to evaluate products based on localized efficacy and impact on soil health. Over the last few years of doing trials, we’ve seen some really great results and we’ve seen some things that didn’t pan out the way we were hoping for.
What we’ve done now, is taken a couple of products that we’ve seen consistent results with and put them together in one big mega trial. We are looking at the synergistic effect of layering multiple products while adding or subtracting them from the overall starter fertilizer mix. The 80-acre plot is located in Washington, Iowa and features 16 different treatments all replicated three times.
The main companies helping with this trial are Pivot Bio, Liventia, Agnition, and AgBio Logic. We are working with these groups to see how these products will layer based on our base fertilizers. Our base fertilizers are a 10-34-0 from Farm Service and a base fertilizer from Midwestern BioAg.
So, we’re looking at those couple bases and then layering products on top. We’ve already pulled soil samples in this field and we already have the base layer of soil data. We understand that this field is a “high productivity” kind of field. Much of the field will easily yield 300-315 bushel corn in any given year. So, the field has really good productivity, but the soil health is not necessarily stellar. This is this field’s fourth year in cover crop and has been no-till for about eight or nine years now. We’ve got a long way to go when it comes to building biologic activity and organic carbon. We want to utilize a combination of the cover crop (which has already been terminated) mixed with the product to not only see how we can continue to improve soil health, but also see short-term economic gains via improved yield all while hoping to decrease the use of additional synthetic fertilizer.
Our goal moving forward is to be able to show our network more of a systems approach to building soil health. We want to determine the base layer of soil data, the soil health info that we collect with our RightWay® soil sampling program and compare your soil data with the products that we are testing and be able to help align farmers with the products.
We don’t sell products and we don’t want to sell products, but we want to make sure that our farmers have tools that can really help them. Insights into some of the data from this mega trial will be available within the TopSoil® Tool, so stay tuned for updates throughout the rest of the year.