Are you one of the many growers who use your own on-farm field research
to increase your yields and profits?

If you are, you should consider participating in the On-Farm Research Network. It can help you expand your interaction with other growers who are doing similar things in the region and provide you an opportunity to share your ideas for additional research needs.

Who And What Is The Minnesota On-Farm Research Network?

Minnesota Wheat’s On-Farm Research Network (OFRN) is grower funded, producer driven research that investigates producer-selected research topics in a large plot environment. This project is grower funded with some of the operating funds coming from the Minnesota Wheat Check-off. We are also funded through grants and currently have a grant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) through the Agriculture Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) – Corp Research Grant and the Agriculture Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC). Other partners are welcome!

Input and participation from growers in and around Northwest Minnesota is at the core of this project. Without grower involvement, this group would not do research. All producers are invited to participate in the Network. The research results from the Network will be available to all producers in Minnesota.

Participation in the NW MN On-Farm Research Network Gives You an Opportunity to:

  • Discuss research ideas with agronomists, university researchers and field specialists, to contribute to a local information database for growers in Northwest Minnesota.
  • Learn more about the research process; get help with field design, data analysis, and results interpretation.
  • Discuss in-field results with other growers to share thoughts, experiences and ideas.
  • Test a product or practice across multiple sites with multiple collaborators to find the best practices for your operation.
  • Be reimbursed up to $1,500 for time and expenses.


2017 Research Priority Areas


How to get involved

  • Any grower interested in our research priority areas for the year is welcome to add a trial location(s) on their farm.
  • If you are interested in getting involved with the On-Farm Research Network call Lauren Proulx, On-Farm Research Coordinator, at (218) 253-4311 ext. 5


Northwest Minnesota On-Farm Research Network Background

Click here to access the pdf


Goal:  Improve The Profitability Of Wheat Production in Minnesota

  • Objectives
    1. Research a wide variety of topics to improve the conservation, fertility management, quality, and overall profitability of wheat production in Minnesota.
    2. Work with growers in the Network to conduct multi-location/multi-year, field scale on-farm research.
    3. Make all research summaries available to anyone interested through and meetings held during the off-season.
    4. Annually, the Network will host a Research Summit, which will likely be in conjunction with the Prairie Grains Conference.
      1. Presentations will be put on by MN Wheat staff, collaborating researchers, and collaborating growers in the Network.
    5. Educate growers on how to conduct their own on-farm research.
    6. Keep the participants and other interested individuals and organizations up to speed on what is going on in the Network throughout the year with information in the Prairie Grains magazine, social media, and an email newsletter.


  • Approach
    1. As an established organization, our goal now is to keep as many of our past participants as we can to improve our chances of success in the upcoming seasons.
    2. Growers who have done a trial with us know what to expect throughout the summer, which helps us in handling more trial locations.


General Plot Information

  • All inputs for these plots are applied by the growers with their equipment or by a local cooperative with their machines.
  • Plots are 70 – 140 feed wide and at least 1,000 feet long, most being 2,000 feet long.
    • Keeping the strips, in the field, wide is important so the combine doesn’t have to take any part of the sprayer wheel tracks.
  • At least three replications per trial are needed to have enough data generated at each location.
  • The coordinator will be there when the inputs are being applied and add flags for a physical marker of each plot in the field.
  • Someone will be available to help with running a weigh wagon to get the weights from each plot.
  • A grain sample will be collected to test for quality including: protein, test weight and moisture.
    • Some trials do not require a grain sample to be taken. These trials can be weighed with a grain cart and a scale if the grower has one available.
  • Flags are moved after the headlands are harvested.
  • After harvest is complete, the data will be analyzed as quickly as possible and will be made available to the participants first.


  • Anticipated Outcomes
    • Minnesota wheat growers will report finding significant financial value in the research reports produced because of on-farm research.
    • The On-Farm Research Network will become a database of trusted local research for Northwest Minnesota.
    • The research will facilitate changes for better stewardship.
    • Growers who participate in Network activities will report gaining knowledge on how to conduct appropriate research on their own farm.


  • Seven years ago, wheat growers increased the wheat check-off in order to expand applied production wheat research in Minnesota. Over the past five years, research has been conducted by the Minnesota On-Farm Research Network.
  • Breakdown is as follows:
    • 2012 – 15 growers participated in 23 trial locations focusing on ESN or coated slow-release urea and its effect on wheat yield and quality.
    • 2013 – Only two growers participated in the ESN research because of the adverse spring planting conditions and no in-season trials.
    • 2014 – A broader range of research projects was implemented. There were 15 growers involved with 18 different projects on both wheat and soybeans.
    • 2015 – 21 growers worked on 11 different trials in both wheat and soybeans.
    • 2016 – There were 20 growers with 27 trials, three of the trials were on ESN or N-Serve, but the other 24 were divided into three main priority areas, all with wheat.
  • Need
    • Increasing diversity of ag products and practices, producers have difficulty knowing which ones consistently work best in their environments and yield the best financial paybacks over time.
    • Low protein wheat causes large economic losses for Minnesota wheat producers. Finding practical ways to increase wheat protein and/or quality yet maintaining or increasing yields through nitrogen use efficiency is critical to increasing profitability.
    • Few if any, grower and research or extension partnerships exist that involves on-farm research and learning opportunities in Northwest Minnesota.
  • Beneficiaries
    • The intended direct beneficiaries are participants in the Network and wheat growers in Minnesota.


Current Leadership Team

  • Lauren Proulx, On-Farm Research Coordinator and CCA, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, Red Lake Falls, MN
    • Education: 2012 BS in Agronomy, University of Minnesota, Crookston, MN


  • Advisory Committee Members
    • Tim Osowski, Producer/Co-manager, Osowski-Urbaniak Farms, Oslo, MN
    • Tony Brateng, Producer/Manager, South 89 Farms, Roseau, MN
    • Steve Lacey, Producer/Manager, Lacey Ridge Farm, Wendell, MN
    • Dave Willis, Owner and President, Agassiz Crop Management, Inc., Thief River Falls, MN
    • Dr. Dave Graftstrom, Ph.D., Custom Training Representative Precision Agriculture, Roseau, MN
    • David Torgerson, Executive Director, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council & Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Red Lake Falls, MN (not a voting member)