Using ISA digital tools out on the farm

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

New tool compares farming practices, products and technologies

August 22, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

Suppose you are looking for a quick yield and economic summary of how well products and practices performed based on the results of Iowa farmers’ tests in real-world conditions. In this case, you may want to check out Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) recently developed online tool: Economic Viewer of On-Farm Studies (EVOS).

EVOS, which can be found by visiting ISA’s website, shares study results and allows users to see if products will pay for themselves in user-defined economic conditions.

Peter Kyveryga, ISA’s senior research scientist of analytics, says the tool enables viewers to simultaneously compare different practices, products and technologies in soybean and corn management based on economic summaries of more than 50 on-farm strip trial studies conducted by ISA from 2006-21.

ISA has published results from each successful field trial in individual reports and made all reports available in a searchable, online database. This database grows annually as the RCFI team conducts and analyzes more trials.

“Results from an individual trial conducted in a single year can be more valuable if it’s aggregated with others and includes information about the practice’s overall performance under different weather conditions and soil types with varying topographies,” says Suzanne Fey, ISA analyst.

EVOS uses data generated by the Interactive Summaries of On- Farm Trials (ISOFAST) tool, where trial locations, weather, statistical analyses and field scouting summaries are available for many of ISA’s on-farm studies.

Wayne Fredericks, ISA farmer-member from Osage, recently turned to the EVOS tool to help compare fungicide products.

During his research, he used six different fungicide products.

“Fungicides are products I usually don’t buy ahead. If the season looks like I need one, I will use the tool to help me decide,” says Fredericks. “It breaks it down to which product throughout the study shows your most economical return. It might not be the highest yield return, but based on the costs, shows the highest dollars in return, which I think is very helpful.”

Using EVOS for Economic Analysis

Simple step-by-step instructions are embedded in the tool’s user interface –select a crop, choose a study category and pick the studies to compare on the left-hand side of the interface. Product costs and market prices can be customized in the interface at the top of the app. Changes to price, cost or study selections can be made at any time, and new outcomes are instantly updated.

Users can operate a “slider widget” in the tool to explore the effect of various grain market prices on profitability and swipe over the default product, practice or technology cost per acre estimate to enter actual costs.

The local co-op provides these actual costs to calculate the yield response required to pay for the treatment, the probability of it generating a profitable outcome and the estimated average profit in dollars per acre that might be expected using the selected parameters.

There are nine study categories(e.g., fungicide, insecticide and field management) each for corn and soybean in EVOS from 31 soybean studies and 26 corn studies.

“If a farmer wants to change the fungicide they have previously used on soybeans (to avoid the development of resistance to that product), they can select fungicides from the study list with a different mode of action. Then, they can compare the effectiveness as experienced by other farmers to determine which type of fungicide may provide the best yield response or economic outcome for them to try this year,” says Kyveryga.

As soon as a study selection is made, a table appears below the upper interface to list the count of trials in the study, economic calculations derived from the actual trial results, and the cost and price values selected by the user. Economic data is presented in terms of probabilities of economic yield response.

Finally, EVOS has a tab at the top of the application window called “Study Information,” where PDF study reports from ISOFAST for each selected study can be viewed and downloaded. These reports contain detailed information about the study, including a map of general trial locations, graphs of in-season weather conditions, and graphs of individual and experimental unit treatment yield differences within each trial.

Click Here To Start Using EVOS