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  • Jan15Mon

    Looking at the Data

    January 15, 2018
    Filed Under:
    Opinion, Agronomy

    As crop growers, it must be nearly a full time job at times of the year trying to analyze all the plots, side-by-side trials and government information to make an informed and economically beneficial management decision regarding management practices for your operation.  

    ALPINE has always been a company who base our product recommendations on sound data, from a mixture of on farm side-by-sides, ALPINE’s own replicated plots, information from research firms we hire to complete replicated trials and agriculture extension work.  As with any type of research, the numbers become more trustworthy as the amount of replications increase.  A side-by-side strip from one field, one year, means virtually nothing.  For trial results to become more repeatable, replicated plots should be from multiple test locations and multiple growing seasons.  As the number of replications increase, the variability from factors other than what are being tested for begins to diminish which in turn gives us better answers to how the products being tested are working.

    ALPINE’s flagship seed-placed starter fertilizer, ALPINE G24 now has close to 700 replications spanning 23 years comparing it to not using any starter on corn and also has just over 500 replications comparing it to dry fertilizer over 28 years.  ALPINE G241-S with K-Tech, the newest and most advanced seed-placed starter fertilizer, has already been tested across 40 replications.  ALPINE’s seed-placed starter fertilizers are the most researched products in the marketplace.

    Despite all the information on working with high quality data, every year, I see growers making cropping input decisions based on very weak data, but perhaps a more slick marketing campaign or a good giveaway from the company promoting it.  Very creative graphs and pictures can also skew the real story. 

    The other factor that always needs compared is the dollars gained from the claimed yield increase compared to the dollars invested in the new product.  Some products I’ve seen through the years have ridiculous prices per acre, yet barely provide enough yield advantage to give an economic return.

    When you’re making the rounds to the farm shows this “off-season” make sure to look critically at where the information is coming from and the quality of it.  Also make sure to stop by the ALPINE booth and speak with our professional team about solutions for your cropping system than can bring you better returns.

    Ken