Many acres were planted on show site land several days ago. Finally, early last week, on Monday and Tuesday, key farm research plots were planted on the working farms between Des Moines and Ames, Iowa. It's the same location where the last Iowa Farm Progress Show was held.
Planting crops at the show site was watched with even keener interest this year because the show will occur about one month earlier this year, scheduled for Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and 2. The decision to move the show earlier was made after Farm Progress Show organizers continued noticing that key farmers, many with larger operations, were harvesting earlier and earlier. Part of that is due to hybrids and varieties that mature and dry down more quickly. Some is due to better harvesting and drying equipment that allows early harvest, plus increasing harvesting demands that make it a real advantage to start harvest early. Early harvest was often causing a difficult dilemma- stay in the field and harvest or shut down and go see the show.
The plots mentioned above were part of Farm Progress Discovery plots. It's the second annual version of this new plot program. Plots were also planted at the site near Henning, Ill., last year.
This is the first year for plots to be managed by a professional crops consultant. Precision Planting, Tremont, Ill., is sponsoring the research project.
The plots break down into three trials. All three are geared at helping farmers discover what it takes to push from the 200 bushels per acre level and go on higher. Trials include micronutrients for corn, tillage comparisons, an narrow rows vs. regular, wider rows in corn.
Plots will be highlighted at the Farm Progress Show this fall, then harvested. Plots are replicated so that statistical comparisons can be made. That process helps remove error, and makes it clearer whether advantages seen in the plot for various treatments are likely to happen next time, or whether they were just due to chance, known as scientific error.
On another note, there is still no word as to where the 2005 Farm Progress Show will be held. The latest word from show organizers is that they're following up on farms on both sides of the Indiana/ Illinois state line.