Farmers are very much active in participating in testing our new innovations. Defra is in support of helping farmers by making them the drivers of the Research and Development of the trials. This Research and Development are supported by many funding streams so that the farmers and tech developers can work with the same incentives in mind.
A one-day event has been developed by Agri-TechE to assist with expanding mutual understanding of the hidden principles, assist in aligning their expectations, and value the difficulties of conducting these trials.
How are farm trials or experiments helpful? They help to compare different methods of farming and also prove which method is more useful for the farmers. These trials help aid in the testing of new technology and practices and provide us with useful information about the innovative machinery.
But, considering you are new to these trials there might be several questions, such as:
- Might ranchers at any point partake in trials that produce significant information without taking extra time out from the business?
- How might you connect with farmers so that dealing with a trial is an interesting opportunity as opposed to an interruption?
- How strong does a trial have to be before you can reach any conclusion?
- What would be a good question for you to ask the researcher before embarking on a cooperative venture?
These points need to be considered during the event.
Some of the considerations of basic principles of farm-based trials
All of the people involved in the trials have different things they want to achieve from them. Such as the farmers would have something they want to achieve but the researchers would have something else in their mind that they would want to achieve. Hence there are basic principles for these trials:
Consistent- The overall conditions of all the trials are required to have the same method, basically they should have the same consistency. This principle is important because it lets the researcher compare and combines the results from different fields, herds, or even farms.
Repeatable- Experiments or trials need to be repeated to show that the results were the same or had some minor changes under the same conditions. This aspect reflects that the findings were true and not just some random projections.
Control- The experiment or trials needs to be done in a controlled environment, meaning the land or livestock need to be treated the same. The reason for this is that only the variable which is being studied is showing changes or not. This aspect can be tricky to achieve on-farm but can be achieved under different conditions.
Timing- This aspect comes under the controlled part as well. Any procedure which is done at a specific time on one farm needs to be done at the same time on the other farms as well. The timings can be changed if there is an urgent need but these points should be avoided as much as possible.
Documentation- This aspect is very important, all the trial and their procedures need to be documented. Previously the documentation was done on paper and required a lot of time to be converted into useful information for results. But nowadays there is technology to help in the documentation of the trial this process can easily be automated now as well.
Analysis of data– The data which is collected from the trials needs to be meaningful for the scientist and farmer. Both the researcher and farmer need to converse beforehand about their expectations and what they want from the trial so that their end goal is aligned and no one gets disappointed in the trial.