Potato Grower

May 2019

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 15 GREEN. THE PROFITABLE COLOR. ™ 208.785.3054 | Blackfoot, ID 208.438.2171 | Paul, ID WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm www.P65Warnings.ca.gov LOCKWOODMFG.com Works great, drop the spade and go … machine worked well with minimal down time. - Brent F. | Maine 654 Windrower 2357-22LockwoodIdaho13h.indd 1 3/25/19 3:59 PM CHOOSE THE LOCATION AND MAP OUT YOUR FIELD PLOTS. Be specific about plot size and layout, how the crop will be planted, which treatments are to be applied in each plot, and any other important aspects of managing the plots. Select a field that has the right characteristics for what you are testing. Look at the field history and make sure there are no major problems that might prevent you from establishing the plots, or that could negate your results. Research plots should be accessible and easy to maintain. Each treatment plot should be large enough to collect the data you need. To moderate the effect of external variation, choose an area that is as uniform as possible in terms of soil characteristics, management history or slope. Keep in mind that land adjacent to the research plots can also have an impact on your research due to runoff, pesticide drift or by harboring pests that migrate into the research plots. To control these effects, establish a border or buffer zone around the entire research project. Ideally, a buffer should be a minimum of one tractor pass on all sides, or larger if conditions permit. Finally, create a detailed plot map for your chosen location based on your research design. Begin by establishing the research plots based on the map you created. Measure and mark your plots with clearly visible stakes or flags. In order to prevent mishaps with the project, make sure you discuss plot design, location, time frame and implementation with your entire farm crew, and share the detailed plot map with everyone involved. Throughout the experiment, be careful to manage all plots exactly the same, except for the treatments (the practices you are testing or comparing.) Most importantly, plan ahead and communicate. Before you start any field work, create a management plan and calendar for the project. Be specific about how the plots and the crop will be managed, how and when treatments are to be applied, and what data will be collected and how. Then make sure you review this plan with everyone who will be involved in the project. MAKE OBSERVATIONS AND KEEP RECORDS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON. Separate from your actual data collection, make observations and take notes throughout the season on influential factors such as rainfall, temperature, other weather events, seedling emergence, crop growth, soil condition, pest problems, field operations or anything else that seems relevant. Keeping a designated notebook, file or spreadsheet with this information will help you interpret your data and put your research results in context. COLLECT RESEARCH DATA. Be highly organized and specify your data collection techniques ahead of time. Prepare your data record sheets beforehand and have all your copies ready to fill out. If you are collecting samples, have all your bags or containers labeled accurately and organized by treatment and plot to facilitate the process. Keep all treatments and plots separate; do not lump data together thinking you will be able to just take an average. Doing so will invalidate your data. If measuring yield, try to harvest from the center of the plots for your research data and, again, keep each treatment and plot separate. You will eventually harvest the whole area, but do not include buffer rows in your data. If you are measuring other effects (e.g., soil characteristics, weed cover, disease or insect damage), use random sampling procedures. Allow adequate time for sampling. IMPLEMENT THE PROJECT.

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