The adoption of precision technologies that spatially register measurements using global positioning systems (GPS) greatly facilitates conducting large-scale on-farm research by farmers. On-farm experiments that utilize producer equipment include variations in agronomic practices that occur in situations where we want to predict the effect of inputs on yield. The domain of inference for such on-farm studies therefore more closely matches that desired by researchers. To investigate the feasibility of on-farm research using GPS, a study was conducted to evaluate the potential benefit of site-specific weed management. The study utilized producer-maintained field-scale equipment on four Montana farms in dryland spring wheat production. Paired site-specific and whole-field herbicide treatment areas were established in 0.9 to 1.9-ha blocks using consultant weed maps and a geographic information system (GIS). Yield was unaffected by herbicide treatment strategy (site-specific or broadcast). Minimal detectable yield differences were evaluated for the experimental design (0.2 T ha−1). Net returns increased when the percentage of field infested by wild oat decreased. Visual ratings of wild oat density taken at harvest indicated no difference in wild oat control between treatments in two of four site-years. This research suggests that producer-owned equipment can be used to compare treatments, but the accuracy and subsequent power of such comparisons are likely to be low.
Nomenclature: Fenoxaprop; imazamethabenz; tralkoxydim; kochia, Kochia scoparia L. KCHSC; Russian thistle, Salsola iberica Sennen and Pau SASKR; spring wheat, Triticum aestivum L; wild oat, Avena fatua L. AVEFA.