With 200 locations across North America, within an hour's drive of most farmers, the WinField Answer Plot system is intended to be relevant to the areas they are in. "We want to try to get them as local as possible," says Heath Peterson, seed agronomy advisor at the Hiawatha plot. "We try to match up the plot with some of the practices that are consistent to that area."
The crews experience the same issues farmers do. They use satellite imagery to detect things like frost and wind damage. "There are always things that go on out there like wet spots that can give us issues," Peterson says. This year, when farmers planted late due to the cold, wet weather, the crew at the 20-acre Hiawatha, Kansas plot was doing the same. They planted corn on May 17 and soybeans on June 7, juggling time with other locations. "They had a lot of miles to cover," Peterson says. "I think for the most part, farmers were also pressed to get crops planted in a timely fashion."
The Hiawatha location has 15 acres dedicated to research and 5 dedicated to demonstrations and WinField Knowledge Events. "We'll bring growers into the plot and try to give them insights into the things we're doing using products they can purchase today," Peterson explains. This involves looking at how varieties respond to nitrogen, rotation, fungicide and numerous other factors. WinField regional agronomists are available to answer questions. "It's called an Answer Plot because of that."