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The First Conference on Farmer-Centric On-farm Experimentation — Digital Tools for a Scalable Transformative Pathway was held on October 13th-15th 2021 in Montpellier, France.
Stay on top of the latest information for the 2nd Conference on Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation, which will take place in a virtual format on Dec. 5-7 2023, by visiting the conference webpage: https://www.gofen.org/ofe2023/
#OFE2023 – Abstract submission is open until July 1st
Stay on top of the latest information for the 2nd Conference on Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation which will take place in a virtual format on Dec. 5-7 2023 by visiting the conference webpage: https://www.gofen.org/ofe2023/. You may submit your 150-word abstract here.
A Framework to Better Understand How Farmers Experiment Agroecological Practices
Farmers’ experimentation has long been identified, but until now, its dynamic has hardly been studied at all. The aim of this paper from Catalogna et al. (2022) is to understand the multiannual experimental itineraries that farmers follow when they try new agroecological practices on their farms. Results show how the representation of experimental itineraries could support farmers in their experiments and enable them to learn more efficiently.
A French network in a problem-solving approach
Sugar beet production in western Europe is under threat because of the damages due to the impact of viruses that are transmitted by peach aphids. Since 1993, this threat has been under control by the use of neonicotinoids in seed treatments. Due to French regulations, this pesticide has been withdrawn from all crops since 2018. In absence of protection, major yield losses were observed in 2020 (-27.4%) due to early aphid arrivals. A derogative regime for sugar beet was set, that went to an end after the decision of the European Commission Justice Court in January 2023. In order to identify levers and ...
A GARDIAN of Big Data
GARDIAN is CGIAR’s (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) flagship data harvesters. It enables the discovery of publications and datasets from across the thirty-odd institutional publications and data repositories from CGIAR Centers and beyond. Actually, most data and publications are not stored in it but in other public databases and repositories. GARDIAN a key component of the Platform’s objective to establish the infrastructure, tools, and approaches to making CGIAR data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR). GARDIAN employs text mining to enrich the associated metadata to enhance discovery, and will soon test data mining techniques with cleaned, ...
A more promising theory of change
Interesting piece in The Conversation from Assoc. Prof Phillip A Loring (Guelph University) reinforcing the importance of farmer-centric OFE. "There is no doubt that regenerative agriculture and other agroecological practices can help address climate change, including by sequestering carbon in the soil. But, at a time when innovation and diffusion of new ideas are urgently needed, fostering an ethical agroecological space where people can experiment and share is a more promising theory of change than creating mechanisms to enforce uniformity and exclusion." Full article available here.
A new knowledge exchange platform for agriculture
FarmPEP is a new knowledge exchange platform created for agriculture. It was initiated in January 2020 via an Innovate UK project with ADAS, Agri-techE, CCRI, Innovative Farmers, Open Coop and The Farming Forum with the aim of connecting Knowledge Exchange in agriculture, post-Covid19. Read more about the initial project here. It has been co-designed to connect across agriculture, enabling knowledge exchange through a new Performance Enhancement Platform. It aims to connect people, organisations, projects and resources to enable knowledge across farming to be shared, found, discussed, distilled and developed. Various topics include On-Farm Experimentation, Farm centric ...
A Practical Guide to On-Farm Pasture Research
A guide in 6 steps: 1) define the study question; 2) choose treatments; 3) how and where to conduct the study; 4) choose variables to measure; 5) conduct the experiment and analyze the results; 6) share your results.
A Practical Way to Share Data With Confidence
Farmers often feel that they do not get the value back after sharing their data. The GODAN (Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition) organization has recently made available an Agricultural Data Codes of Conduct Toolkit. By using the toolkit, they can understand and control what is done with the data, who can do what, and so on. They feel engaged, considered and this strengthens the farmer value structure. The toolkit allows farmers to select clauses that might be of relevance and to easily produce a printable and saveable Code of Conduct that provides the conceptual basis for general, scalable ...
A Reflexion on a New OFE-Based Agronomy
Accurate interpretation is the key to getting value from OFEs—good interpretation helps farmers learn more from each OFE, and manage with greater certainty as a result. Sadras and co-authors [Making Science More Effective for Agriculture: Advances in Agronomy, 163:153—77] call for an expanded role for agronomic logic to solve global crop production challenges. Yet many OFEs generate insights of complex and variable crop behaviour that call for stronger engagement of agronomy with these farmer-driven operations. In fact, some data scientists believe analysis can proceed without theory—an approach Taguchi adopted for dealing with complex systems. As we ...
A Review of Yield Stability Analysis Methods in Long-term Field Experiments (LTE)
This review provides guidance for the most commonly encountered methodological issues when analyzing yield stability in LTEs. Consistent use of the suggested guidelines and recommendations may provide a basis for robust analyses of yield stability in LTEs and to subsequently design stable cropping systems that are better adapted to a changing climate. Reckling, M., Ahrends, H., Chen, TW. et al. Methods of yield stability analysis in long-term field experiments. A review. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 41, 27 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-021-00681-4
A Review on Precision Agroecology
Merging precision agriculture technology and agroecological principles offers a unique array of solutions driven by data collection, experimentation, and decision support tools. Precision agroecology provides a unique opportunity to synthesize traditional knowledge and novel technology to transform food systems. Duff, H.; Hegedus, P.B.; Loewen, S.; Bass, T.; Maxwell, B.D. Precision Agroecology. Sustainability 2022, 14, 106. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010106
Agricultural Research Data Network
The Agricultural Research Data Network (ARDN) provides tools and protocols to allow researchers to not only share their data, but to make their data interoperable and reusable. Additional tools allow end users of the data to combine and reformat ARDN data for quantitative analysis and modeling.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Living Laboratories Initiative
The Living Laboratories Initiative is an integrated approach to agricultural innovation that brings farmers, scientists, and other partners together to co-develop, test, and monitor new practices and technologies in a real-life context.
The gap is still huge between researchers and farmers. More needs to be done to give them opportunities to have a say in how research happens. However, co-design requires more funding, and more patience. Many companies took part in AgriTech4.0 which was an opportunity to learn about new developments in sensors and data management, and promote the importance of including farmers from an early stage of development. The goal is to help ensure technological solutions are useful, practical and easy to use in farm contexts, ultimately driving uptake of these technologies on farms. Access to the 45+ recorded presentations can be ...
An Efficient Geostatistical Analysis Tool for On-farm Experiments
A new paper proposes a spatially varying local cokriging method for large on-farm experimentation data which could lead to high-resolution site-specific farming treatment recommendations. Its accuracy of spatial prediction is compared with five other techniques. The open source code is accessible via a user-friendly interface of Quantum GIS. [Huidong Jin, K. Shuvo Bakar, Brent L. Henderson, Robert G.V. Bramley, David L. Gobbett. 2021. An efficient geostatistical analysis tool for on-farm experiments targeted at localised treatment. Biosystems Engineering 205:121–136, ISSN 1537–5110.]
Apparently, On-Farm Demonstration is not On-Farm Experimentation
There is “a project involving 400 farms and around 40 villages in the Deux-Sevres region of western France, where scientists are experimenting with different techniques to cut pollution.” GREAT! "We have demonstrated that conventional farmers can reduce nitrogen and pesticides by a third without loss of yield, while increasing their income because they lower their costs" BRILLIANT!! "Even the farmers who participated in the experiment and saw the results with their own eyes did not noticeably change their practices" THEY WHAT???? Full article available here.
ARDN conference on agricultural data interoperability
A conference will be held on June 9, 2022, at the USDA National Agricultural Library to showcase the agricultural data interoperability work done as part of ARDN, the Agricultural Research Data Network. This work started with development of the AgMIP data interoperability standards in 2010 and has been expanded in collaboration with CGIAR and the USDA National Agricultural Library. The ARDN project team will describe methods developed for data annotation and sharing which can be used to “rescue” legacy data or be applied to new data sources to facilitate interoperability and reuse of our most valuable agricultural research product: data. The ...
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Australian Farm Data Code
The Australian Farm Data Code aims to promote adoption of digital technology, by ensuring that farmers have comfort in how their data is used, shared and managed. It is intended to inform the service providers who manage data on behalf of farmers, and a tool for farmers to evaluate their policies.
Big Data Promises and Obstacles
A virtual Workshop on Big Data Promises and Obstacles: Agricultural Data Ownership and Privacy was hosted by the Digital Agriculture “UASPSE” (Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Plant Sciences and Education) project, the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences and PepsiCo. Recordings of the presentations: Cultivating Trust in Technology-Mediated Sustainable Agricultural Research The Law and Economics of Agricultural Data Privacy FAIR to FAIRS: Data Security by Design for the Global Burden of Animal Diseases Big Data, Data Privacy, and Plant and Animal Diseases Research Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture: Data Issues of Privacy, Ownership, and ...
Biweekly seminar series on Data Intensive Farm Management
The Data-Intensive Farm Management Project at the University of Illinois will be hosting again their biweekly seminar series where members of the DIFM/CIGOFT project will present their research. The seminar series will be held on every other Thursday's starting October 20, 2022. People who have tried the DFIM system and would like to share their experience are encouraged to reach out to Carli J. Miller (email@example.com). You can connect via email with Carli J. Miller for the link to the seminars. Come and join us.
Bridges for Open Sharing and Re-use of Data
A final report on Research Data Alliance (RDA) 18th Virtual Plenary Meeting is now available, capturing various takeaways from the November feeding. All videos from Virtual Plenary 18 are now available on YouTube. The videos are all now available for the public to listen to at their convenience. Have a special look at the "BO2 - IG Agricultural Data IGAD: Interest Group on Agricultural Data: A roadmap for our CoP" broadcast.
Call for papers on Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation in Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Here is an exceptional opportunity to let the scientific community know about your On-Farm Experimentation (OFE) work. Contributions are most welcome to this Virtual Issue focusing on recent advances relative to Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation (OFE). It coincides with OFE2021, the 1st Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation Conference (13–15 October 2021) and is open to everyone. Indeed, participation in OFE2021 is not mandatory to submit OFE-related work to this special issue. Submissions end on March 1, 2022. The conference was supported by the OECD—CRP Sustainable Agricultural Systems, DigitAg, INRAE and the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA).
Comments, Reactions and Additions to the Nature Food paper?
You might consider submitting your work to the Special Issue in Agronomy for Sustainable Development. This virtual issue coincides with OFE2021, the 1st Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation Conference (13–15 October 2021) and is open to everyone. Submissions end on March 1, 2022.
Concerns about the transition from Agriculture to Agriautomation fueled by OFE
By: Montana State University On-Farm Precision Experimentation Group We consider the potential endpoint of our research utilizing on-field experimentation to optimize crop production so that it maximizes farmer profits but minimizes pollution from crop production inputs (e.g. cover crops, fertilizers and pesticides). Our research has contributed the ability to fully automate OFE through the use of precision technologies and modern analytics. The conundrum is that agriautomation results in a more ecologically based agriculture that can simultaneously focus on food nutritional density and minimization of pollution, but ultimately removes human and historic mechanisms of knowledge. Agriautomation, the end point of ...
Dr. Véronique Bellon Maurel, INRAE, Director of #DigitAg, France Dr. Nicolas Tremblay, International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA), Canada Prof. Simon Cook, Murdoch University, Centre for Digital Agriculture, Australia
Crowdsourcing Uses and Opportunities in Agriculture
Crowdsourcing, understood as outsourcing tasks or data collection by a large group of non-professionals, is increasingly used in scientific research and operational applications. Close connections with the farming sector, including extension services and farm advisory companies, could leverage the potential of crowdsourcing for both agricultural research and farming applications. [Julien Minet, Yannick Curnel, Anne Gobin, Jean-Pierre Goffart, François Mélard, Bernard Tychon, Joost Wellens, Pierre Defourny. Crowdsourcing for agricultural applications: A review of uses and opportunities for a farmsourcing approach. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 142, Part A (2017): 126-138.]
Cutting Edge Science symposium on Responsible AgTech Innovation.
CSIRO’s Digiscape Future Science Platform and Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform will be hosting a one-day Cutting Edge Science symposium on Responsible AgTech Innovation (27 May 2021 8:30 am – 5:00 pm AEST). The event will bring together key stakeholders to explore how the combination of science, agriculture and responsible innovation can strengthen Australian farming and land management.
Data & Digital Revolution for Food Systems
To address the global food system challenges effectively, we must overcome fragmentation within and across sectors to act in a transdisciplinary fashion, bringing together the natural and social sciences with data and technology to drive food systems towards more favorable potential futures for humanity and the planet. The Global Coalition for Digital Food Systems Innovation participated to the “Forum COP26 Live”. The recording is available here. The Coalition involves FAO, World Bank, CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, Mineral at X, Google, Digital Green, GEOGLAM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, VARDA, Consumers International, Bayer Foundation, Mercy Corps, World ...
Data Becomes Really Useful Only When Aggregated
There is a growing need to quantify complex interactions of processes for diverse environmental conditions and crop management realities. Any study is worth very little in itself unless its data is being agglomerated with others to express conclusions valid for real use. In order to tear the agronomic data Babel Tower down, there is little alternative but to converge on standards, at least for a minimal set of them. Do you use a standard to construct your agronomic databases? If so, which one? Please fill in this two-question survey. The OFE-C will use the results to start a ...
Data Becomes Really Useful Only When Aggregated - Survey Results
We launched a quick survey in the OFE-C info letter no. 5. To the question, “Do you use a standard for your agronomic data? » 85% answered, “No, but I would be interested,” nobody simply answered, “no” and 15% answered, “Yes.” Among the latter, the following standards were suggested: AgMIP / ICASA: Porter, C.H., C. Villalobos, D. Holzworth, R. Nelson, J.W. White, I.N. Athanasiadis, S. Janssen, D. Ripoche, J. Cufi, D. Raes, M. Zhang, R. Knapen, R. Sahajpal, K.J. Boote, J.W. Jones. 2014. Harmonization and translation of crop modeling data to ensure interoperability. ...
Data Sharing Toolkit
Data Sharing Toolkit could contribute to unlocking greater food security. CABI and the Open Data Institute (ODI) has launched a Data Sharing Toolkit which could contribute to greater food security in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia through better access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilizer.
Data Visualization and Analysis Tool for Synthetizing on‐farm Research Networks Data
ISOFAST simultaneously reports all trial results about the same management practice to simplify interpretation of multi‐sites and multi‐year summaries. [Laurent et al. 2021. Research Synthesis Methods 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/jrsm.1440.]
Data-Driven Understanding of on Farm Yield Variation
Agriculture research uses “recommendation domains” to develop and transfer crop management practices adapted to specific contexts. The scale of recommendation domains is large when compared to individual production sites and often encompasses less environmental variation than farmers manage. Farmers constantly observe crop response to management practices at a field scale. These observations are of little use for other farms if the site and the weather are not described. The value of information obtained from farmers’ experiences and controlled experiments is enhanced when the circumstances under which it was generated are characterized within the conceptual framework of a ...
Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) Project
Dr. David Bullock made a presentation entitled “Contributing to an International Cyber-Infrastructure for On-farm Precision Experimentation” before the OFE2021 “Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation” Conference and the University of Bonn PhenoRob Institute. The purpose of the trip was to publicize DIFM’s latest efforts and seek collaboration with researchers in the European Union. The DIFM team has also created a multistate Research Project, titled NC1210: Frontiers in On-Farm Experimentation which will enable researchers from all across the United States to collaborate and host meetings on an annual basis.
Designing Your Own OFE - Bramley
Have a look at this classic 2006 guide (Designing Your Own OFE - Bramley) for farmers and their advisers on precision agriculture-based field experiments - their design, and the important issues to be considered in analysing the results. The guide was published by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) of the Australian Government.
Digital tools for OFE
In this video, you can see the demonstration of the field region analysis tool in the Climate FieldView platform that can be very helpful for On-Farm Experimentation. If you watch from about 15:00 to about 21:00, the speaker provides a very good example of how a tool like this can facilitate the work of farmers in their experimentation. Granular AgStudio offers a similar tool called Treatment Analysis. This poste is not endorsing the Climate FieldView or Granular platforms. It rather shows that interesting digital tools for OFE exist.
Disparate Big Data in Systems Agriculture
In our data-rich world, identifying optimal systems for sustainable intensification or diversification is lacking a data management system across spatial and temporal resolutions including workflows, interpretation methodology, and a delivery structure. This paper offers solutions for developing a platform for bridging component parts (encompassing multiple scales and disciplines) to analyze system functionality for greater resiliency. [Tulsi P. Kharel Amanda J. Ashworth Phillip R. Owens Michael Buser. 2020. Spatially and temporally disparate data in systems agriculture: Issues and prospective solutions. Agronomy Journal 112 (5): 4498–4510. https://doi.org/10.1002/agj2.20285].
Ecosystem for FAIR Data for Cross Domain Research
Have a look at a very packed page on the challenge around data with clarifications on the lexicon for terms such as “metadata, interoperability, governance, cleaning and big data.” We learn that “over the last two years, a CODATA-led pilot project has developed, tested and refined methods for aligning metadata specifications, taxonomies and ontologies to address these problems in a consensual fashion.”
Efficient Water Management for Smallholders in Africa
Developed by the Virtual Irrigation Academy, piloted water front detectors (WFD) are a simple soil moisture tool that informs farmers when to irrigate and when to stop applying water to their fields. Now, freely available satellite data, covering a wide geographical area with repeated measurements over time, offers an alternative way to monitor and assess intervention impacts in fragmented smallholder landscapes. A wide range of freely available satellite data sources exist, capturing the Earth’s surface in various levels of detail. Landsat 8 satellite data provided the best available resolution for the period during which on-farm water management interventions took ...
Engage farmers in research
The one-size-fits-all approach of research has had success but advances are slowing. “How well crops and livestock grow depends on the interaction of genes, management and environment. As weather patterns fluctuate, gains in production will depend ever more on innovating in context. Big knowledge flowing from institutes to farm must be complemented by local knowledge.” Small-scale agricultural innovation will boost yields and protect the planet. See this Nature Comment.
Establishing the Precision and Robustness of Farmers’ Crop Experiments
Precision farming experiments are generally incompatible with conventional statistical methods and alternative models of response variables (e.g. yield) must be estimated if the effect of the management decision is to be distinguished from other sources of variation. The model-based statistical analyses of these experiments require assumptions regarding the variation of the response variable. When these assumptions are inappropriate (e.g. if the correlation between response variable measurements is poorly modelled) then the inferences from the experiments can be unreliable. Marchant, B. et al. Establishing the precision and robustness of farmers’ crop experiments. Field Crops Res. 230, 31-45, doi:10.1016/...
Event: International Forum on Agroecosystem Living Labs
Announcement of International Forum on AgroEcosystem Living Labs 02-06 October Montreal, Canada. A side event within the Adaptation Futures 2023 Conference in Montréal, Canada, from October 2 to 6, 2023. Submission deadline is March 30th 2023. Learn more here.
Every farmer should be doing on-farm research
The Natural Resources Defense Council is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. It works in the US, Canada, China, India and Latin America. In their latest report entitled REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE: FARM POLICY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY Policy Recommendations to Advance Regenerative Agriculture, they stress that “On-farm research is a key ingredient of regenerative agriculture, important for developing techniques and solving problems”. Full report available here.
Evidence Synthesis in Agronomy
There is a need to shift the focus from individual studies to the accumulating body of evidence concerning the agronomic and environmental benefits of innovative farming practices. Systematic reviews, evidence mapping, on-farm research, and meta-analyses are available for the integration of results but they are not yet used as frequently as one might expect. Both qualitative (systematic reviews, evidence maps, farm surveys) and quantitative syntheses (meta-analyses, modeling) have been published in a special issue of the European Journal of Agronomy. [Makowski, D. Editorial of the special issue “Evidence synthesis in agronomy”. European Journal of Agronomy 122 (2021) 126183. ISSN 1161-0301. https://...
FAIR Quality Information Guidelines
This “FAIR Quality Information guidelines” reviews FAIR principles from a “quality” perspective and summarizes this into guidelines for data producers, users, custodians and stewards. The guidelines are aimed at Earth Science datasets with these composing most of the examples. However, the advice is quite general, applicable to agricultural datasets.
Farm Hack is a worldwide community of farmers that build and modify their own tools. They share their hacks online and at meet-ups. Their work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Farmer-based Research program on the Falkland Islands
On-farm experimentation (OFE) and precision agriculture technologies could be a potent mix for driving change in agricultural systems. Many of us recognize the significant opportunity in large, tech heavy and digitally enabled cropping enterprises. However, most of the world’s agricultural land is characterized by extensive, tech-poor livestock systems (LS). “OFE in LS” could help to introduce appropriate digital technologies in a way that is meaningful to farmers. Have a look at this recording from Matthew McNee, agronomy advisor in the Falkland Islands.
Farmer-Led Innovation Network in the UK
A Farmer-Led Innovation Network (FLIN) was established in October 2018 to share knowledge and experiences and provide a collective advocacy voice for farmers in the UK. The main aim is to understand, learn from and “power-up” farmer-led innovation initiatives and increase their economic, environmental and social impact across the industry.
Farmer-Led Research Webinar
A Farmer-Led Research Webinar was conducted last month by the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph. The webinar mentioned the need for scientific rigor, yet keeping a balance between practical and robust protocol, on the one hand, and keeping data collection and research flexible, on the other hand. The recording is now available.
Farmers’ experiments and scientific methodology
“Testing of only one variable at the same time,” has quite recently been described as one of the criteria that a scientific field trial has to satisfy. In projects involving cooperation between farmers and scientists, scientists have sometimes been “frustrated” with farmers whose experiments have not satisfied the one-variable requirement. Reportedly, this is “one of the points that has [led] research station scientists to dismiss farmer innovation.” This study investigates methodological and philosophical issues pertaining to farmers’ experiments such as the choice of interventions to be tested, the planning of experiments, and the ...
Farmers’ Experiments and Scientific Methodology
“Testing of only one variable at the same time,” has sometimes been described as one of the criteria that a scientific field trial has to satisfy. In projects involving cooperation between farmers and scientists, scientists have sometimes been “frustrated” with farmers whose experiments have not satisfied the one-variable requirement. Reportedly, this is “one of the points that has [led] research station scientists to dismiss farmer innovation.” This study investigates methodological and philosophical issues pertaining to farmers’ experiments such as the choice of interventions to be tested, the planning of experiments, and the means ...
Farmers’ Experiments and Scientific Methodology
This study investigates methodological and philosophical issues pertaining to farmers’ experiments, including the choice of interventions to be tested, the planning of experiments, and the use of control fields and other means to deal with confounding factors. [Hansson, Sven Ove. 2019. “Farmers’ Experiments and Scientific Methodology.” European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3): 32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-019-0255-7.]
Farming to Meet Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: Reflections on Soil Health and Policy
This webinar reflects on how to achieve sustainable productivity gains through investments in soil health and knowledge. Reports have been commissioned on pioneering efforts in East and Southern Africa to engage and empower farmers and communities through approaches that specifically support disadvantaged youth and women. Highlights include innovations in extension, soil health monitoring and agricultural policy around sustainable intensification.
Trevisan, R.G., Bullock, D.S. & Martin, N.F. Spatial variability of crop responses to agronomic inputs in on-farm precision experimentation. Precision Agric 22, 342–363 (2021).
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Guide to Farmer's Crop Trials from ADAS
By working together with other farmers, suppliers, agronomists and scientists, farmers can use their own trials to bring fast learning, new findings and best practice for themselves and the industry at large, an approach ADAS calls “Agronōmics”. GPS and other modern technologies, along with thorough trial protocols, can make farm trialling straight forward and routine. Decisions and innovations can then become thoroughly validated and tailored to real farming conditions. This Guide to Farmer’s Crop Trials outlines processes leading to successful farm-trialling and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Guidelines for Quality Information of Individual Digital Datasets
Informed decisions on whether and how to (re)use digital datasets are dependent on an understanding about the quality of the underpinning data and relevant information. This new paper addresses the challenges and promotes the creation and (re)use of freely and openly shared information about the quality of individual datasets. Members of several groups around the world have undertaken an effort to develop international community guidelines with practical recommendations for the Earth science community, collaborating with international domain experts.
Guides from the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario
The EFAO is a research program led by farmers which combine their curiosity with scientific rigour to answer challenging on-farm questions. Their website features an open access source to EFAO research protocols, reports and publications. Their research library lists a few on-farm research guides, two of them to be found below:
Handbook on Systems Research for Agriculture
Farmers today face a complicated set of expectations while trying to make a living. These challenges are complex, yet most agricultural research has approached them from a reductionist standpoint. The handbook delivers guidance on how to form effective interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams and how to plan, implement and analyze system experiments. The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is a decentralized competitive grants and education program.
Harmonization of Heterogeneous Spatial Data
Heterogeneous spatial datasets are those for which the observations of different datasets cannot be directly compared because they have not been collected under the same set of acquisition conditions, with consistent sensors or under similar management practices, among others. This paper details and compares four automated methodologies that could be used to harmonize heterogeneous spatial agricultural datasets so that the data can be analyzed and mapped conjointly. [Leroux, C., Jones, H., Pichon, L. et al. Automatic harmonization of heterogeneous agronomic and environmental spatial data. Precision Agric 20, 1211–1230 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11119-019-09650-0]
How do data and analytics from on-farm trials should be dealt with?
The OFE-C is seeking professionals and researchers dealing with data from on-farm experimentations or their analysis. We want to identify requirements and valid procedures leading to guidelines and eventually policy development. Volunteers will help select topics to cover in a webinar sometime this spring and the best presenters for that purpose. The workload will not be substantial. Please volunteer or suggest someone you know here.
How do Research Protocols Need to be Adapted to Farmers Priorities?
Do farmers and researchers have the same criteria for gauging the success of an experimental trial in commercial conditions? Having the priorities of the farmers in mind, how should the researchers adapt their experimental approaches and analytics? White peg research or else? We are starting a structured thinking process on this question in order to frame the debate and develop consensual guidelines. Should you have elements to provide or want to be involved, drop us a line here.
How do we enact co-innovation with stakeholders in agricultural research projects?
Mobilising co-innovation involves a complex interplay between contextual forces and facilitation processes. This interplay shapes the core co-innovation processes of joint framing, testing of solutions and creating new knowledge. The interplay between contextual and facilitation processes requires an adaptive approach to research design and management. [Ingram, J., Gaskell, P., Mills, J. & Dwyer, J. How do we enact co-innovation with stakeholders in agricultural research projects? Managing the complex interplay between contextual and facilitation processes. J. Rural Stud. 78, 65-77, doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.06.003 (2020).]
How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch
This Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) technical bulletin provides detailed instruction for crop and livestock producers, as well as educators, on how to conduct research at the farm level using practical strategies and peer-reviewed research findings. It also includes a comprehensive list of in-depth resources and real-life examples in order to stimulate on-farm research ideas and provide guidance.
How to get Attention for Research Project Outputs
Jennifer Gibson, the Executive Director of Dryad in the UK explains Social Marketing which has been an important strategy in public health promotion for 30 years and has significant potential for helping to advance change in the research community.
Inspiring from Other Sectors
Regulators Speak About Decentralized Clinical Trials While the Decentralized Clinical Trials concept is still in its infancy, the fact that regulators encourage Decentralized Clinical Trials practices indicates it is here to stay. Much work between the industry and regulators will need to occur before Decentralized Clinical Trials can become a harmonized approach. Read the news clip here.
Inspiring from other sectors
Observational research often perceived as inferior The main barrier to the publication of observational research is a perceived inferiority to randomised designs with regard to the reliability of their conclusions. This commentary addresses this issue and makes a set of recommendations. It analyses the issue of research reliability in detail and fully describes the three sources of research unreliability (certainty, risk and uncertainty). Two of these (certainty and uncertainty) are not adequately addressed in most research texts. It establishes that randomised designs are vulnerable as observation studies to these two sources of unreliability, and are therefore not automatically superior to ...
Inspiring from other sectors
“[Victoria] Sweet’s book God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine explains how, after reading about the medieval healer Hildegard of Bingen, she came to the conclusion that, to better describe the aims of recovery, we should resurrect Hildegard’s medieval concept of viriditas, or “greening” – to be healed is to be reinvigorated by the same force that gives life to trees as much as it does human beings. She, too, observed that the work of the physician is much more like that of ...
Inspiring from other sectors
Observational studies are seldom used in agronomy. However, in medical science, it proves to be a powerful complement to randomized control trials (RCT). Gaudino et al. (2020) explain “Observational studies provide important information on temporal trends in disease prevalence or in the adoption of surgical techniques. They can successfully evaluate the association of patient characteristics with outcomes and are key to develop and validate risk models. Observational studies tend to have greater external validity than RCTs, as they enroll a more heterogeneous population and measure the results of surgical interventions in the “real-world” outside of the highly ...
Inspiring from other sectors: UK Recovery Trial
The UK RECOVERY Trial is heralded as a huge success for its discovery of cheap and effective treatments to COVID even while the UK’s National Health Service was being inundated by the Tsunami of the Covid pandemic. The trial is credited with saving at least a million lives, using Dexamethasone, a cheap and readily available medication. It did so in rapid time, enrolling its first trial patient within days, its first life-saving treatment within weeks and changes to government policy within hours. The account of the RECOVERY Trial makes exciting reading in its own right, but ...
iSDAsoil: African soil properties at 30m resolution
Smallholder farmers need to find a way past the status quo and a path to modernizing their operations. The mapping system—iSDAsoil— provides African soil properties at 30m resolution, and advisory services possible at the level of the single small farm. iSDA’s ultimate goal is to help smallholders develop long-term sustainable businesses. It was founded by three research institutes—Rothamsted Research, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
A digital geographic dataset is a representation of some model of the world for use in computer analysis and graphic display of information. To ensure that data are not misused, the assumptions and limitations affecting the creation of data must be fully documented. The objective of this part of ISO 19115 is to provide a model for describing information or resources that can have geographic extents. ISO 19115-1:2014 defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services by means of metadata.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra Knowledge Network
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) knowledge network is an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) in India. It aims at the assessment of location-specific technology modules in agriculture and allied enterprises, through technology assessment, refinement and demonstrations. KVKs have been functioning as Knowledge and Resource Centres of agriculture technology supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sectors. This initiative has the potential of becoming very large and increasingly farmer-driven, leading researchers to consider farmers first.
Latest Release From the ASD Special Issue on OFE
Back in August 2021, guest editors Myrtille Lacoste, Isabelle Piot-Lepetit, Nicolas Tremblay and Simon Cook sent a call for papers for a virtual issue on OFE, which ended in March 2022. The virtual issue is titled “Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation (OFE): digital tools for a scalable transformative pathway” Here is the latest article to be published ► Toffolini and Jeuffroy 2022. On-farm experimentation practices and associated farmer-researcher relationships: a systematic literature review.
Living Lab - Quebec
The scientists, together with producers and their communities will co-create applicable solutions to improve the environmental performance of farms and watersheds and help improve the health of Lac Saint-Pierre, an enlargement of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
LTAR Network Data Management Portal
The long-term agroecosystem research (LTAR) network consists of eighteen sites located across the US and are situated within USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) units, universities, and non-profit conservation organizations. Research approaches include long-term monitoring efforts, common experiments, and modeling conditions.Sites are able to produce data and metadata in specified formats from local data management systems to share across the network via information technology (IT). Their data management portal provides guidance for LTAR data managers and researchers for managing data and information generated from LTAR science endeavors. These are some of the tools available: Cataloging published data Documenting, integrating ...
Lunch and learn videos
If you happen to sit at your desk over lunch and are browsing Ted Talks to learn something new, you may want to watch OFE videos. A list of e-presentations from the #OFE2021 prepared by Myrtille Lacoste: Participatory experimentation at CETA35 - N. Trubert et al. (CETA 35, France) Using digital maps to build research questions relevant to Falkland Islands farmers - M. McNee et al. (Department of Agriculture, Falkland Islands) eFields: Ohio State University’s On-Farm Research Program - E. M. Hawkins, et al. (The Ohio State University, USA) Increasing the speed and uptake of innovation ...
Making Crop Data Sharing Responsible and Reliable
A GODAN webinar with Professor Sabina Lionelli and Dr. Hugh Williamson from Exeter University on Making Crop Data Responsible and Reliable that took place recently. The speakers concentrated on how social intelligence fuels ethical data management strategies for precision agriculture. The recording of the event is now available to watch here.
Map of the On-Farm Experimentation Community Membership
Our website features a map locating OFE-C members around the world. As we want to make sure it is working as intended, we would like to know if you experience problem using it. More specifically, if you have had the "Sorry Something Went Wrong" message: Did the reset button solved the problem? If not, have you successfully tried F5? What is your browser? Thanks for your help in making sure the OFE-C tools are useful to our members.
Multi-criteria decision analysis in agriculture rarely consider important elements
The study of a corpus of 954 articles published by INRA scientists from 2007 to 2017 concludes that MCDA studies will need to include participatory science to involve stakeholders (i.e., public authorities, governmental agencies) and end users (i.e., farmers, producers, industry, consumers) in the construction of the multi-criterion evaluation but also in the resulting decisions.
Aare, Ane Kirstine, Søren Lund, and Henrik Hauggaard-Nielsen. “Exploring Transitions towards Sustainable Farming Practices through Participatory Research – The Case of Danish Farmers’ Use of Species Mixtures.” Agricultural Systems 189 (April 1, 2021): 103053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103053.
Nebraska On-Farm Research Network
The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a collaborative project where producers take an active role in answering questions that impact the productivity, profitability, and long-term sustainability of their operations. Research is conducted using scientifically sound methods and results provide valuable information for farmers and agronomists throughout the state. Learn about the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network here. You can also read more in the Proceedings of the North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference.
New report on Farmer-Centric Data Governance
The potential benefits of digital agriculture are prolific. However, farm data is generally collected by others, and smallholder farmers rely on external resources, like weather data, and proprietary tools that provide specific advisories. Farmers face a paradox: while the use of data holds much potential, control over power, resources, and data governance challenges raise the possibility that farmers do not benefit from their own data. This report contains six Deep Dives and nine Case Studies to provide user-centric approaches to data governance that places farmers and their communities at the center of data gathering initiatives and aims to reduce ...
OFE Data and Analytics Guidelines
The On-Farm Experimentation Data and Analytics Guidelines spin-off from the May 17, 2021, Data and Analytics webinar of the #OFE2021 Webinar Series. They have been put together by the OFE-C leadership with the help of the webinar presenters and the related working group. Their goal is to propose state-of-the art data, metadata and statistical analysis practices in the on-farm experimentation context.
OFE keynotes at the AfPCA
Tune in for talks and discussions on OFE at the African Conference On Precision Agriculture Thursday, December 8th. It is not too late to register and attend the conference virtually. Louis Longchamps will be talking about Decentralized Research: an Opportunity to Accelerate the Transition Towards Sustainable Food Production; Myrtille Lacoste will be talking about Global Renewal and Future of On-farm Experimentation, and there will be an On-Farm Experimentation Panel with Louis Longchamps, Ivan Adolwa, and James Taylor. See details here.
OFE-C Survey on Social Media Usage
Dear OFE-C members, We are interested to learn how you use social media platforms, in order to plan our outreach strategy beyond the OFE-C Newsletters. To learn more, we have prepared a very short survey (2 multiple-choice questions) that can be completed in a few seconds. Please take a moment now to complete the survey below; we would appreciate it. https://forms.gle/b7sG4yNDCwxojVn98 Thank you for your support.
OFE-C Survey on Social Media Usage
Please fill out the survey if you haven't done so yet We are interested to learn how you use social media platforms, in order to plan our outreach strategy beyond the OFE-C Newsletters. To learn more, we have prepared a very short survey (2 multiple-choice questions) that can be completed in a few seconds. Please take a moment now to complete the survey below; we would appreciate it. https://forms.gle/b7sG4yNDCwxojVn98 Thank you for your support.
OFE: Experimental Approaches, Analytical Frameworks, Case Studies, and Impact
This open access 2019 special issue of Agronomy Journal 111(6): 2633–2768 is a must read. It contains papers that show how to improve data analyses and summarization of a large number of experiments containing similar treatments across years and locations.
On-Farm Experimentation Webinars: Mark your calendar
We are putting together the #OFE2021, the First Conference on Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation—Digital Tools for a Scalable Transformative Pathway. The conference will be preceded by four preparatory webinars: Value creation: Monday, May 10, 2021 People and processes: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Data and analytics: Monday, May 17, 2021 Policy linkages: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 The times will correspond to 8 to 10 a.m. in Chicago (Central Daylight Time), 3 to 5 p.m. in Paris and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in India. Check the calendar on the ISPA home page for updates.
On-Farm Replicated Strip Trials (Book Chapter)
This 2018 book chapter by Kyveryga et al. is about On-Farm Replicated Strip Trials. It provides a brief overview of how to plan, design, and conduct on-farm replicated strip trials. Practical considerations are listed when using different types of equipment. Examples are presented on how to summarize data from individual locations, as well as how to interpret experiments conducted. Applicable keywords are data analyses, economic analysis, environmental conditions, modern precision agriculture equipment, on‐farm replicated strip trials, research hypothesis, result interpretations, sustainable farming, within‐field management history, within‐field variability.
On-Farm Research Guide from the Organic Farming Research Foundation
This guide from the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is available to farmers for planning, carrying out, and analyzing experiments.
On-farm Research on Canola from Brandon, Manitoba
Two papers on canola featuring on-farm research: Khakbazan, M., Moulin, A. & Huang, J. Economic evaluation of variable rate nitrogen management of canola for zones based on historical yield maps and soil test recommendations. Sci Rep 11, 4439 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83917-3 Aaron J. Glenn, Alan P. Moulin, Amal K. Roy, Henry F. Wilson. Soil nitrous oxide emissions from no-till canola production under variable rate nitrogen fertilizer management. Geoderma 385, 114857 (2021) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114857
Once Upon a Time, the History of PA and OFE
Dr. David Charles, retired from Nottingham University in the UK is passionate with the history of agriculture. Here are two excerpts of what you can find in Dr. Charles short paper on the ISPA website. Early Precision Agriculture: In the 6th century A.D. Pope Gregory and Archbishop Augustine organised England on a system of parishes. Within these parishes there were usually three large communal fields divided into strips. Village families held randomised replicated strips in the three fields with the intention of giving them all fair shares of good and bad land. Early On-Farm Experimentations: Thomas Coke of ...
One Question Survey
What aspect(s) of on-farm experimentation are of interest to you? Let us know by filling this one-question survey.
Open Ag Data Alliance
The Open Ag Data Alliance is an open project designed to bring interoperability, security, and privacy to agricultural data. The purpose of the Open Ag Data Alliance is to develop a standard API framework for automated data exchange. If a person has data stored in one place, and would like an app or service to be able to access it, they need only know the top-level domain where their data sits in order for the app or service to use it, providing permission when setting up the connection.
Open OFE position
This is a reminder that the OFE position at INRAE is still open. Details here.
Open Position in OFE
One PhD research assistantship is available immediately in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. The project focuses on evaluating variable rate fertilizer management strategies using on-farm precision experiment, cutting-edge digital agricultural technologies, and data analytics. The applicants must have a B.S. degree (M.S. preferred) in Precision Agriculture, Mathematics, Computer Science, Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Science, or closely related fields. Please contact Dr. Haiying Tao (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information.
Open position in On-Farm Experimentation
The ITAP Research unit (Technologies for the Agriculture of Tomorrow) has an early career research position open at the moment to research and support the use of on-farm experimentation in the agroecological transition. The post details are available on the INRAE website (in French). See the position's description here. The candidate will work with a dynamic group of researchers in Precision and Digital Agriculture based in Montpellier, France. The successful candidate does not necessarily need to be proficient in French, but does need to commit to learning and working in French. As this is an OFE position, interaction ...
Post-doc Opportunity in OFE at Cornell University
Digital technologies offer a possibility for farmers to accelerate their progress towards sustainable production systems. The mission of the Transdisciplinary Innovation Lab on Digital Agronomy at Cornell is to co-create solutions with farmers and their advisors that will enable a better collection, organization, curation, and usage of data on the farm. The position holder will conduct research to improve data usage for decision-making in field crops production. This involves using remote sensing, organizing, and curating databases, deploying soil and crop sensors, and programming in R or Python to collect, organize, curate, and use farm data for better decision-making in terms ...
Postdoc Opportunity on OFE at University of Connecticut
The Soil Fertility and Soil Health Program in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT seeks a highly motivated Post Doctorial Associate. The Postdoc will work with the PIs from multiple institutions (e.g., University of Illinois, Montana State University, Louisiana State University, University of Nebraska, USDA-ARS, etc.) to support projects focus on studying variable rate strategies using on-farm precision experiments, cutting-edge digital agricultural technologies, big data, and data analytics. The selected applicant will conduct on-farm experiment, analyze data, publish peer-reviewed journal articles, contribute to the development of decision-support tools, and participate ...
Precision Agriculture in Action for Africa
A lot of agricultural experimentation in Africa is conducted on farms. What can the rest of the word learn from OFE with an African flavour? A good place to start was the 1st African Conference on Precision Agriculture held just last week from 8 to 10 December. The African Plant Nutrition Institute, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and the International Society of Precision Agriculture were behind this successful inaugural event. even hundred participants at 14 sites representing 51 countries were put together on this occasion. On-demand content will soon be made available on the conference website for participants.
Prediction Intervals for On-farm Network Trials
This Laurent et al. paper shows how to prevent farmers from overoptimistic expectations that a significant effect at the overall population level will lead with high certainty to a yield gain on their own farms. [Laurent, A., Kyveryga, P., Makowski, D. & Miguez, F. A Framework for Visualization and Analysis of Agronomic Field Trials from On‐Farm Research Networks. Agron. J. 111, 2712-2723, doi:10.2134/agronj2019.02.0135 (2019).]
The Conference will be preceded by four thematic workshop webinars in May. These webinars will each be prepared by a dedicated working group. Value creation: through co-producing and sharing knowledge People and processes: avoiding the tech fallacy, building ecosystem innovation platforms Data and analytics: large-scale agronomy, experimental designs, aggregation, metadata Policy linkages: to support innovation, and for data governance
Principles of OFE
We invite you to revisit the 2021 OFE Manifesto for Agricultural Innovation.
Proceedings from the 1st African Conference on Precision Agriculture
The proceedings from the 1st African Conference on Precision Agriculture (AfCPA) are now available for download as a PDF (29 MB). The 1st AfCPA was held from 8-10 December 2020 under the hospices of the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) in partnership with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA).
Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Farmer-Centric OFE
We are glad to announce the open access publication of the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Farmer-centric On-Farm Experimentation - Digital tools for a Scalable Transformative Pathway. This conference was organized by INRAE-#DigitAg and the ISPA OFE-C (International Society of Precision Agriculture, On-Farm Experimentation Community). #OFE2021 was conducted in a hybrid format from October 13th to 15th in Montpellier (including one day dedicated to a workshop to develop policy propositions) and was preceded by a round of four webinars in May 2021. Find the proceedings here.
Proposed Method for Statistical Analysis of On-Farm Single Strip Treatment Trials
This paper explores statistical frameworks to quantify the effect of a single treatment strip using georeferenced yield monitor data and yield stability-based management zones. Cho, Jason B., Joseph Guinness, Tulsi Kharel, Ángel Maresma, Karl J. Czymmek, Jan van Aardt, and Quirine M. Ketterings. 2021. "Proposed Method for Statistical Analysis of On-Farm Single Strip Treatment Trials" Agronomy 11, no. 10: 2042. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11102042
To share global experience of farmer-centric On-Farm Experimentation (OFE) To explain the innovation process that OFE represents, as an alternative to the top-down, researcher-directed process that currently predominates How OFE creates value to sustain itself; The alternative innovation pathways of the OFE bottom-up processes; How OFE offers a pathway for valorising digital technologies in agriculture; and The interplay between OFE practice on the ground and supporting policy and investment.
Recent papers on OFE
Koehler-Cole, K., Basche, A., Thompson, L., Rees, J. (2023). Comparing cover crop research in farmer-led and researcher-led experiments in the Western Corn Belt. Front. Sustain. Food Sys. 7:1064251. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2023.1064251 Laurent, A., Heaton, E., Kyveryga, P. Makowski, D., Puntel, L., Robertson, A., Thompson, L., Miguez, F. (2022). A yield comparison between small-plot and on-farm foliar fungicide trials in soybean and maize. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 42, 86. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-022-00822-3 Tanaka, T.S.T., Mieno, T., Tanabe, R., Matsui, T., and Bullock, D.S., 2023. Toward an effective approach for on-farm experimentation: lessons learned from ...
Recording of the Workshop on Agricultural Data Codes of Conduct
The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) conducted a virtual Workshop on December 11, 2020, to offer an opportunity to find out more about the Agricultural Data Codes of Conduct Toolkit and GODAN’s work on Data Ethics. The toolkit provides a guide to data management best practice for any individuals or organizations (farmers, agri-businesses, associations, regional or national governments…) who collect, manage or share agricultural data. The recording of the 90-minute workshop which gathered about 300 participants can be found here.
Recordings of the #OFE2021 Webinar Series are Available
The four OFE2021 webinars recordings are now available at https://www.ispag.org/Events/OFE Value Creation. OFE creates value for varied stakeholders, value is shared, and scientific disciplines can contribute. May 10, 2021. People and Processes. People are the real key to digital transformation. Transformation occurs when individual changes scale up through their networks and their organizations. May 12, 2021. Data and Analytics. Appropriate procedures and well-targeted analytics can be deployed to exploit the valuable data and metadata collected on the farm. May 17, 2021. Policy Linkages. Currently, initiatives around OFE are happening in spite of funding mechanisms, career paths and norms favoring traditional ...
Register now to #OFE2021
Register now for a virtual attendance and no later than October 8. Discounts are available for ISPA members, students, attendees from low and middle-income countries, non-profit organizations, farmers, and farmer organizations.
Catalogna, M., Dunilac Dubois, M. and Navarrete, M., 2022. Multi-annual experimental itinerary: an analytical framework to better understand how farmers experiment agroecological practices. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 42(2), p.20. Read the paper here. Farhangi, H., Mozafari, V., Roosta, H.R., Shirani, H. and Farhangi, M., 2023. Optimizing growth conditions in vertical farming: enhancing lettuce and basil cultivation through the application of the Taguchi method. Scientific Reports, 13(1), p.6717. Read the paper here. Van Rooyen, A.F., Bjornlund, H. and Pittock, J., 2021. Beyond fertilizer for closing yield gaps in sub-Saharan Africa. Nature Food, 2(10), ...
Repeated designs not sufficient to evaluate treatment effects accurately in OFE
The outcomes of on-farm experiments can support farmers’ decision-making processes, while inappropriate procedures would result in incorrect interpretations. Conventional statistical approaches (e.g., ordinary least squares regression) may not be appropriate for on-farm experiments because they are not capable of accurately accounting for the underlying spatial variations in a particular response variable (e.g., yield data). A combination of a repeated design and an anisotropic model is required to improve the precision of the experiments. [Tanaka,T.S.T. 2020. Assessment of research frameworks for on-farm experimentation through a simulation study of wheat yield in Japan . Preprint 12741.]
Results of the OFE-C Survey on Social Media Usage
Based on the results below, it seems like LinkedIn is, by a small margin, the preferred social media platform of our group. Due to the spread of use across multiple platforms, it may be good to consider a multi-platform communication strategy, broadcasting content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn simultaneously. Another outcome of this survey is noticing that there seem to be few students in our group. We encourage you to inform your students about the OFE-C and tell them that they can sign up for free here.
Save the date for #OFE2023
Science and Technology Backyard
Science and Technology Backyards (STBs) were introduced by China Agricultural University in 2009. It is a farming service model designed to reinforce relational embeddedness between education, research, and extension at the community level to provide agricultural extension and advisory services to smallholder farmers. STB can be considered a hybrid model that combines a top-down approach with bottom-up measures to promote innovation among smallholder farmers. In STBs, technological innovation is supposed to derive from location-specific problem diagnosis and is re-fitted based on local context and farmer demand. To learn more read the Li et al. 2022 paper here.
Seeking Great Photos: “Doing” On-Farm Experimentation
We are seeking free-of-right photos illustrating co-learning by scientists, farmers and professionals around on-farm experimentation and digital opportunities in a broad range of systems and contexts. If you have pictures that eloquently illustrate this idea that you are willing to share, please drop us an email. It will be greatly appreciated!
SharedIt link for Nature Food paper: OFE to Transform Global Agriculture
Our apologies for not having offered the opportunity to consult the full Nature Food paper in our last communication. The publisher does not allow open access for that kind of paper but it does provide an alternative in the form of this SharedIt link. On-Farm Experimentation Community (OFE-C) co-leads, Simon Cook and Nicolas Tremblay are among the authors of a newly released and highly collaborative Nature Food paper on OFE. This timely work acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of approaches and views on farmer-centric OFE internationally. As the visionary Professor Simon Cook put it, “OFE is ...
Smartphone App Designed for, and With, Farmers
As the use of smartphone technology is becoming increasingly popular in the agricultural context, there is a need to consider how farmers have adapted to this form of technology. The current study examined the factors which influence Irish farmers’ engagement with smartphone use and new smartphone apps and explored the supports required by farmers to successfully engage with smartphone apps for agriculture use. Kenny, U. and Regan, Á., 2021. Co-designing a smartphone app for and with farmers: Empathising with end-users’ values and needs. Journal of Rural Studies, 82, pp.148-160.
Special Issue on OFE in Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Back in August 2021, guest editors Myrtille Lacoste, Isabelle Piot-Lepetit, Nicolas Tremblay and Simon Cook sent a call for papers for a virtual issue on OFE, which ended in March 2022. The virtual issue is titled “Farmer-Centric On-Farm Experimentation (OFE): digital tools for a scalable transformative pathway” Papers are starting to be published online and we want to highlight them here as they are coming out: ► Laurent et al. (2022) A yield comparison between small-plot and on-farm foliar fungicide trials in soybean and maize. ► Song et al. (2022) Factors influencing intention to apply spatial approaches to on-farm experimentation: insights ...
Specific Treatment Responses in On-Farm Precision Experimentation
Site-specific information about crop responses to agronomic treatments is needed. Geographically weighted regression was applied to generate local regression coefficients, which were used to delineate response zones in fields. This is a way to reevaluate expectations on variable rate prescriptions guided largely by soil and variability. Trevisan, R.G., Bullock, D.S., Martin, N.F. Site-Specific Treatment Responses in On-Farm Precision Experimentation. Preprints 2019, 2019020007 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201902.0007.v1).
Successful approaches for on-farm experimentation
On-farm experiments are used increasingly in agronomic research because they are commercially relevant, but they can carry greater risks of failure than traditional small plot experiments conducted by scientists. Experimental failures can result from farmer withdrawal, errors in treatment application or harvest, or non-provision of yield data by farmers. This paper describes the development and testing of approaches for on-farm experimentation and concludes which approaches should be adopted to maximise success. The programme of work included the largest on-farm research network in the UK, with farmers conducting around 50 on-farm experiments per year from 2017 to 2019 to compare fungicide programmes in winter ...
The conference is supported by the OECD Co-operative Research Program (CRP) “Biological resource management for sustainable agricultural systems,” under Theme 3 — Transformational technologies and innovation. It is organised by INRAE Montpellier and the On-Farm Experimentation Community (OFE-C) of the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA). Support is also provided by Agropolis Foundation, Occitanie Region, MUSE (Montpellier University of Excellence), Agreenium, #Digitag, RMT NAEXUS, RMT Modelia and Occitanum.
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Bruce Maxwell, Prof. of Agroecology, Montana State University
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Bruce Maxwell, Prof. of Agroecology, Montana State University
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Christian Huyghe, Scientific Director Agriculture INRAE
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Christian Huyghe, Scientific Director Agriculture INRAE
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Christian Huyghe, Scientific Director Agriculture INRAE
Thanks to my monthly co-editor Laura Thompson, Extension Educator at UNL, USA
Thanks to my co-editor of the month Laura Thompson, Cropping Systems and Ag Technologies Extension Educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
The Analysis of Agricultural Experiments: A brief History
From Fisher in 1926 to nowadays much needs to change in the analysis of agricultural experimentations. Charles (2021) guest editorial in The Journal of Agricultural Science focuses on the 20th century. Even before the digital age, experiments intended to resolve difference questions were replaced by experiments designed to answer questions about the magnitude of differences and responses to treatments. The review raises a question: namely is it time to revisit Bayesian statistics on the grounds that visionaries and innovators are prone to subjectivity? [Charles D. (2020). Guest Editorial: The analysis of agricultural experiments: a brief history of the techniques of the 20th century. ...
The CHACRAS system: an OFE project led by AAPRESID in Argentina
The Argentine No-Till Farmers Association (AAPRESID) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization born out of a strong desire to protect farmers’ most valuable resource - the soil. The association is made up of a network of farmers who have adopted and promoted a new agricultural paradigm based on no-till practices. CHACRAS SYSTEM is a program created by AAPRESID to meet the technological needs of farmers and technician groups in their work environments, based on an integrated analysis of their production systems. Through its two spaces, CHACRAS and Thematic Networks, it serves as a platform for knowledge generation and transfer, in ...
The Data Streams Podcast
Data Streams is a collection of conversations among members in the Research Data Alliance (RDA) community about challenges they face as researchers and data experts in managing the massive quantities of research data and how together, they are finding solutions and proving the value of open research data sharing and reuse.
The Farmers’ Perspective on Data Governance
Fragmented and unclear data governance arrangements may weaken farmers’ willingness to adopt digital solutions. This, in turn, may reduce the availability and accessibility of agricultural data for policymaking, for the agricultural innovation system, and for developing services for farmers. This OECD report focuses on farmers’ concerns around access, sharing and use of agricultural data and explores whether and how existing policy frameworks and other sectoral initiatives can help to foster greater trust. [Jouanjean, M., et al. (2020), “Issues around data governance in the digital transformation of agriculture: The farmers’ perspective,” OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, ...
The first Agroecosystem Living Labs symposium in October 2023
The first Agroecosystem Living Labs symposium will be organized as a side event of the international Adaptation Futures 2023 to be held in Montreal in October (2-6 October 2023 in Montréal, Canada). The Agroecosystem Living Labs, jointly organized by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada and INRAE-France, will be in a hybrid format and will offer the possibility to share experiences across the world. On-farm experiments are one form of such participatory approaches. Thanks to the work of the scientific committee, the most valuable papers will be published in a special issue of an international scientific journal. To visit the COnference ...
The International Data Week 2021
The International Data Week (IDW 2021) is scheduled for 8–11 November 2021 in Seoul, South Korea, in a hybrid form, under the theme “Data to Improve our World.” Open Science and the FAIR Principles are important enablers of discovery and innovation, particularly the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. The IDW 2021 is supported by the International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA) and World Data System (WDS), and the Research Data Alliance (RDA).
The IPMWorks European project
IPMWorks is a European-wide farm network demonstrating and promoting integrated pest management strategies. Coordinated by Nicolas Munier-Jolain (INRAE, France). This network gathers 31 partners from 16 countries across Europe. These partners cover the following roles: Farmers' organizations; Applied research, advisory and extension services; Academic research on social sciences; Academic research on agronomy (sensu lato) and environmental science; and Training organizations. Beyond the very rich on-farm resource, the project builds an extensive toolbox, that is continuously enriched, thanks to the diversity of partners. To learn more about the IPMWorks project, follow this link.
The IPMWorks European project-Feb
IPMWorks is a European-wide farm network demonstrating and promoting integrated pest management strategies. Coordinated by Nicolas Munier-Jolain (INRAE, France). This network gathers 31 partners from 16 countries across Europe. These partners cover the following roles: Farmers' organizations; Applied research, advisory and extension services; Academic research on social sciences; Academic research on agronomy (sensu lato) and environmental science; and Training organizations. Beyond the very rich on-farm resource, the project builds an extensive toolbox, that is continuously enriched, thanks to the diversity of partners. To learn more about the IPMWorks project, follow this link. a;kjsdfhkkjsan 'loirjg[oi45 b;oinn[...
The Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network (LTAR)
The LTAR network integrates question-driven research projects with common measurements on multiple agroecosystems (croplands, rangelands, and pasturelands) and develops new technologies to address agricultural challenges and opportunities. The LTAR network provides common measurements and data streams that complement other federally funded national networks. Their data management working group strives to make LTAR data aligned with the FAIR guiding principles, to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. The LTAR network fosters data sharing principles and guidelines with the intent that all LTAR data will be available for research collaboration and the development of agroecosystem management recommendations and education.
The OFE-C seeks On-Farm Research Guides
The OFE-C is collecting and centralizing on-farm research guides in a repository. Do you have any to suggest? Please send the document or its path in an email. You will find a few examples of what we are looking for in the following articles.
The Research Data Alliance and Agriculture
With over 10,000 members from 145 countries, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) provides a neutral space to develop and adopt infrastructure that promotes data-sharing and data-driven research to enable the open sharing and re-use of data. RDA has a grass roots, inclusive approach covering all data lifecycle stages, engaging data producers, users and stewards, addressing data exchange, processing, and storage. Generic topics of its interest are social hurdles on data sharing, education and training challenges, data management plans and certification of data repositories, disciplinary and interdisciplinary interoperability, as well as technological aspects. The RDA is constituted of different elements, ...
The Way Farmers Learn
Acknowledging how farmers learn is a forced passage to the impact of knowledge generation and the way to link extension to research. This Janvry et al. (2016) paper presents an interesting perspective. It presents a few concepts such as “private learning” (learning-by-doing) by Bayesian updating. This consists of direct learning from own individual actions over time. There is also “social learning” (learning from others) with Bayesian updating and aggregation of observations collected from others according to a chosen pattern of weights.
Thirty-nine Hints for FAIR Data in Agriculture and Nutrition
All data scientists know the importance of good and unambiguous definitions of data dimensions, crucial to all phases of data analysis. However, semantics is often left implicit in the data, the semantic resources used to create the data are not easily accessible, or available in non-standard formats, non (easily) machine-readable – all factors hampering the possibility of reusing data in information systems or integrating it with other datasets and ultimately limiting the interoperability of data. This paper presents recommendations to engage agrifood sciences in a necessary transition to leverage data production, sharing and reuse and the adoption of the « ...
Tools for OFE
“On-farm research helps farmers make more informed management decisions in their operations for increased productivity and sustainability. […] major barriers to adoption of on-farm research have been the space (larger fields) and the time required to conduct trials during planting and harvest. As these logistical and potentially economic challenges might discourage farmers from engaging in on-farm research and be part of on-farm research networks, a new way to conduct trials was developed that makes use of yield monitor technology and advances in spatial statistics.” Read more about the single-strip evaluation approach (SSEA) here.
Towards Farmer-led Research: A Guidebook
What is farmer-led research? What are some examples and the benefits? The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) has experience and share its learned lessons in this guidebook.
Transforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature and Climate
The UK has launched the Transforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature and Climate campaign to catalyze a step change in agricultural innovation. The series of webinars will present the findings of five evidence reviews commissioned under the Research, Development and Deployment (RD&D) strand of the Sustainable Agriculture component of the COP26 Nature Campaign. The second webinar in the series focuses on agroecology and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Agroecology is increasingly promoted as a means to transform food systems globally, yet the evidence for generating large-scale impacts on climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries has been ...
Unlocking Value by Analyzing Commercial Data
Data from commercial oil palm operations were analyzed for a whole plantation to rank individual blocks according to their ability to respond to applied fertilizer. The ranking was used to guide fertilizer management by diverting fertilizer from unresponsive blocks to those that are more responsive. Although the inferences lack statistical validity, they appear robust from a practical viewpoint. They are easy to evaluate in the field, since they require no upscaling from or interpretation of experimental data. [Oberthür, T. et al. Plantation Intelligence applied Oil Palm operations: unlocking value by analyzing commercial data. The Planter 93, 339–351 (2017)]
Upcoming OFE-C Newsletter
The OFE-C will release in January a newsletter with information about on-farm experimentation. Should you have something to communicate to our readership, please submit to this email.
Updated #OFE2021 Program
By registering to #OFE2021, you will have access to the full program including keynote and invited speakers. There will also be 19 E-presentations selected for the plenaries on top of 67 e-presentations out of 86 submissions (48 video recordings, 9 slide sets, 29 papers).
Using the DIFM OFE tool in Argentina to manage within-field variability.
Since 2017, a group of producers and agricultural companies in the Pampas Region of Argentina gradually started adopting technologies developed by the Data Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) project to conduct on-farm experiments and obtain a deeper learning about within-field spatial and temporal variability of crop response to ag inputs, such as nitrogen and plant population. This region-wide network, coordinated by Dr. Agustin Pagani, independent researcher and president of Clarion, Inc., has rapidly expanded to other regions of the country where less science-based information to support fertilizer recommendations is available. The “checkerboard design” is the base of this effort, ...
Where in the World are Farmer-Centric OFEs?
The OFE-C is consolidating occurrences of farmer-led research, farmer-centric on-farm experimentation, living labs, or the like. Our goal is to map and feature these initiatives all around the world. Drop us a short notice about what and whom you know!
Which of These Aspects of On-farm Experimentation are of Interest to you? Survey Results
Thanks to the many who have answered our quick survey posted in the On-Farm Experimentation Community Info No. 1. We asked you to select any combination among the following themes: Creation/sharing of value and intellectual property Farmer-centric, co-learning and social aspects Data, metadata, analytics, modelling, artificial intelligence Transformation through policy, legislation and investment All aspects generated interest, but primarily the data and analytics, and the farmer-centric ones. We will soon come back to you with more about how we intend to make progress along those lines.
Why are you getting this email?
This message has been sent to you because you are a member of, or have shown interest in OFE. If you know a colleague who would like to be kept in the loop, please transfer this link to fill the OFE-C Expression of Interest Signup. You will find the past Info editions at the same place. If you want to access to the full opportunities of the OFE-C and the ISPA please join.
The Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) in the UK supports arable crops innovators since 2012. Learn about the impressive achievements of YEN growers in the though 2020 season. Awards were given for best yields or best % or potential yield. See the recording here.
“Houston, we have a (data) problem.”
Farmers struggle to use data for decision-making. A survey of over 1500 farmers demonstrated high rates of data collection but low rates of data usage. Participants to the conference “Identifying Obstacles to Applying Big Data in Agriculture” defined scenarios in which on-farm decisions could benefit from the application of Big Data. Common obstacles identified included errors in the data, inaccessibility of the data, unusability of the data, incompatibility of data generation and processing systems, the inconvenience of handling the data, the lack of a clear return on investment (ROI) and unclear ownership. One solution: Standards or guidelines for farmers ...