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Conducting Your Own Research: Why it Matters . Mr. Dudley Calfee General Manager Ferris Farms. Why do your own research? . As a grower you may have a unique and different perspective from researchers and scientists.

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conducting your own research why it matters

Conducting Your Own Research:Why it Matters

Mr. Dudley Calfee

General Manager

Ferris Farms

why do your own research
Why do your own research?
  • As a grower you may have a unique and different perspective from researchers and scientists.
  • Conducting “on-farm trials” should make you a better grower through careful observation and attention to detail.
  • New practices and technologies can be more quickly evaluated for success or failure if numerous small test sites are evaluated and the information shared. Growers can play a key role in this process.
some variables you can control and study
Some variables you can control and study
  • Fertilizers
  • Irrigation practices
  • Pine bark types
  • Soil type – with amendments
  • Water and pine bark pH effects
  • Hydrogen cyanamide
  • Pruning practices
  • Your unique ideas to improve production
  • And of course, “snake oil”
variables you can control and study
Variables you can control and study
  • These variables can affect your bottom line
    • We should not spend money on things that do not increase profitability.
    • How do we know that what we are doing with fertilizers, nutritionals, and cultural practices makes a difference with fruit production?
    • Remember, without an untreated control we have no means for evaluating products or practices.
how do we evaluate our plants
How do we evaluate our plants?
  • What do we hear/say?
    • The plants look great
    • Nice flush
    • Nice bloom set
    • Nice fruit set
  • But…
    • We can’t sell leaves
    • Not every bloom becomes a berry
    • Not every berry is the same size or weight.
how do we evaluate our plants1
How do we evaluate our plants?
  • And…. you can’t see a
    • 5%,
    • 10%
    • or even 20% difference in yield on the bush.
so how can we determine
So how can we determine?
  • What makes a difference in yield
  • What makes the fruit ripen earlier
  • What is more profitable

Research = get the data.

example of an on farm experiment
Example of an on-farm experiment
  • 5 plant plots x 3 with replicate control plots x 3 = 6 plots per “trial.”
  • Separate the plants into plots with PVC risers.
  • Designate one picker as your “experimental harvester”. Pay them for their time and berries they pick.
  • Harvest the plots before each pick, weight the fruit and record the data – note fruit quality and condition.
evaluating results
Evaluating Results
  • Review the data at the end of the harvest season.
  • Look for timing of harvest
  • Did the fruit come in earlier/later?
  • You may get less fruit, but it may be worth more if it came in earlier.
evaluating results1
Evaluating Results
  • Look at total production – how much did each plot yield?
  • Compare the results using current year’s price per pound.
  • Boil the data down to dollars.
evaluating results2
Evaluating Results
  • Just because something made a difference this year, it may have a different effect next season.
    • Different weather, chill hours
    • More or less rain
    • Extremes – remember the 2009-10 and 2010-11 winters?
  • Repeat the experiment to see if you can duplicate the result.