Lakeland College's Crop Research program has gained momentum. There has been an increase in tools, equipment, and new sources of funding.

Lakeland's existing complement of equipment has mobilized current small-plot research activity. Equipment includes:

Winter Steiger Combine
The Wintersteiger is a small-plot combine that is used for harvesting small plot research trials. The small-plot combine threshes and separates the grain like any combine would, but there are a few key differences (apart from its tiny size!) that distinguishes it from a modern farm size combine. First, it's an open cab machine. Second, we can divert the clean grain into the hopper or to a chute off to the side of the combine to bag for analysis in the shop. And third, it's a minimum two person operation to harvest with this combine (one person driving, and one person bagging the grain on each individual plot). This fall, it harvested 5 small plot cereal trials, and next fall, it will be harvesting 18 wheat, barley, oat, triticale, flax, and pea small-plot trials. In the future, we are hoping to purchase a newer Wintersteiger small-plot combine that is equipped with automatic weigh systems (so that we don't need to bag every plot of grain and weigh it back at the shop to get the yield data).
Seed Drill
The Fabro small-plot seed drill is designed to mimic the seeding job of a farm-scale drill on a smaller scale. Our new 6-row Fabro on 10" row spacing was custom made with hoe openers for seed and seed-placed fertilizer and mid-row band discs for fertilizer. The mid row band discs are able to move side to side hydraulically so that we can side band if we choose to. The Fabro is similar to a modern farm-scale drill in that we have the capability to seed and fertilize out of multiple tanks (we call them boxes on the Fabro), but it is different in that we have 5 separate boxes which give us a lot of flexibility to apply different straight products instead of pre-blended product in a smaller number of boxes. This is very helpful in small-plot work because unlike a in farmer's field, we often need to change fertilizer rates between each trial, so we can adjust the amount of straight product metered out of each box between trials to give us the necessary product amounts (blend). The alternative would be to order pre-set blends for each separate trial and vacuum out each box between trials. Also, we have two cones on this drill, which allow us to vary the rate or type of seed and fertilizer between individual plots. This is important for small-plot trials that have multiple varieties of a given crop (or varying seeding rates) and also multiple fertilizer rates. For example, I am planning a project starting in 2018 called "Managing malt genetics for feed end-use" where I will be testing 6 malt and feed barley varieties under 5 rates of nitrogen fertilizer, and measuring agronomic responses such as yield, feed quality, lodging, and sprouting. If we didn't have the dual come system on the Fabro, we would not be able to do the trial. Since we do have it, the sky is the limit for the questions we can answer using small-plot research trials for this drill!

Multiboom Sprayer
Theta Probe
Handboom Sprayer
Maintenance Sprayer

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