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NW Minnesota On-Farm Research Network

On-Farm Research Network - Horizontal


Minnesota Wheat’s On-Farm Research Network (OFRN) conducts producer-funded, producer-driven research that investigates producer-selected research topics in a large plot environment. Funding is currently supplied by the Minnesota Wheat Check-off and by crop research grants awarded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).


General Trial Overview

  • The participant will work with a Research Coordinator to plan and implement the trial.
  • All inputs are applied by the participant using their equipment or by their local cooperative.
  • Plots must be at least 800 ft long and wide enough to allow for a full combine pass through the plot that avoids sprayer tracks (usually 100-140 ft). Harvesting with a guidance system is also easier with wider plots.
  • It is preferred that participants replicate each treatment at least four times
  • Coordinators will be available at the time of trial implementation and harvest to assist with flagging and data collection.
  • The Research Coordinators will analyze the data from the trial and return it to the participant as quickly as possible.

Intensive Fungicide Management in Wheat

NEW in 2018!

Many growers apply fungicides to wheat at the 3-5 leaf and early flowering stages in wheat to control leaf diseases and head scab. Research has shown that including an additional fungicide application as the flag leaf is emerging can increase yield for varieties that tend to be more susceptible to leaf diseases by protecting the flag leaf from fungal infections.

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Topdressing Wheat with 28% UAN and a Nitrogen Stabilizer

University research has shown that topdressing wheat with N at the 4-5 leaf stage can increase yield, while applying N post-anthesis may increase protein. Applying N at boot could potentially improve both yield and protein. Recent results from on-farm research found that a UAN application near boot may increase protein by 0.5% in some environments. Continued research in additional environments will help us know when a yield or   protein response to topdressing may be expected.

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seeding rate

Wheat Seeding Rate

Some wheat varieties respond differently to different seeding rates. Wheat seeded at a lower rate may compensate for yield by producing more tillers. In 2017, on-farm trials indicated that increasing seeding rate beyond 1 million plants per acre would not produce an economically beneficial yield increase. Continued research in additional environments will help shed light on the interaction between variety and seeding rate.

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Sulfur Fertility on Wheat using AMS

Continually increasing wheat yields demand more nutrients from the soil to support high yields. Wheat demand for sulfur may be greater than what the soil can supply in some environments. This research seeks to determine when a response to sulfur fertilizer may be expected in wheat.

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Using a Plant Growth Regulator to Reduce Lodging

Severe lodging in wheat increases harvest loss as well as frustration for the combine operator. When using high yielding varieties and managing for maximum yield, a plant growth regulator (PGR) may be an option to reduce harvest loss when conditions are conducive to lodging. Additional on-farm trials will help determine when it may be beneficial to apply a PGR in wheat.

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Variable Rate Nitrogen Applications in Wheat

Variable rate technology can help increase yield by reallocating N from lower yielding areas of the field to higher yielding areas of the field. However, the overall increase in yield may not be enough to cover the added cost of a variable rate application. Continued on-farm research in diverse environments will help determine when it may be economical to make variable rate N applications in wheat.

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Current Leadership Team

Lauren Proulx, On-Farm Research Coordinator and Agronomist

Cell: 218-556-3174


Melissa Geiszler, On-Farm Research Coordinator & Agronomist

Cell: 952-738-2000