Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) highlighted its On-Farm Network at an event held earlier this month in Morden.

"The goal of our On-Farm Network, is to test new products and practices on farmers' fields, with farmers equipment at the field scale," said Production Specialist Laura Schmidt. "Taking all those products and practices that are coming from the applied research and making it applicable to the farm. We're first of all trying to answer specific farmers questions. What nitrogen rate works best on my farm for dry beans or what tillage practice works best there? But then from the larger data set of having all of these on-farm trials across Manitoba, across some of our different growing regions, what larger conclusions can we draw that are going to be applicable to every farmer here in Manitoba that are growing dry beans?"

Schmidt commented on the dry bean trials.

"Dry beans, it is a bit of a smaller data set that we have. We've been doing on-farm trials since about 2016 and they've kind of focused in three major topic areas. The first is nitrogen fertility, both in terms of different nitrogen rates on-farm as well as some of those inoculant products that are available for dry beans. How do they work at the field scale. The second one that we have is focused on the question of foliar fungicides. Controlling white mould or preventing white mould in dry bean crops, how do we respond to a single application of fungicide versus untreated? For that trial, it has been conducted in some dry years, so we're not seeing a lot of results for the fungicide right now but we want to keep exploring that question under wetter growing environments as well as over more years just to really broaden the spectrum of that question. The third one has been investigating tillage. Specifically, strip till versus conventional till. Are we seeing some benefits in between the two systems? That one is really quite interesting. We've had three trials comparing those two with pinto beans and navy beans. There we're really seeing a benefit to that strip till. It's been dry. That moisture conservation piece is really quite wonderful. There's also a little bit of protection there. We had some high wind storms and that ended up needing to reseed those conventional till strips just because of the wind damage, whereas with the strip till, there was a little bit of protection having those untilled areas where not as much soil blew. There's some benefits there and it's another question we'd like to keep investigating."

MPSG has two trials ongoing right now for dry beans with one looking at a biological product and another looking at foliar fungicide.

Schmidt encourages farmers to reach out for advice.

"If you're wondering if that practice is going to provide a return on investment or that product is going to work on your farm, do consider a replicated and randomized strip trial. It doesn't have to be through the On-Farm Network, but that replicated and randomization piece, it really does help you make a knowledgeable decision because you can run those statistical analysis and be confident in that result you're getting. When you have those full strips, replicated and randomized, and running those statistics, that's something we can help with."

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